Press Release – Auckland Action Against Poverty
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE
28 February 2017
AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
Welfare group say Government have failed homeless and lack any vision for solutions
The National Government are denying that there is a housing crisis while the number of homeless families in need of Special Needs Grants for emergency housing increases.
“The Government have failed homeless families forced into a poverty trap between accruing debt for emergency housing or going into an unaffordable private rental market,” says AAAP spokesperson Vanessa Cole.
“The increased spending on emergency housing is a result of the failure of Government policy to provide enough secure, affordable state housing for people on low incomes.
“Figures show that MSD spent $7.7 million dollars in three months from Oct-Dec 2016 on Special Needs Grants to house homeless people in emergency accommodation such as motels.
“Pressure placed on MSD by AAAP last year led to homeless people getting access to non-recoverable grants so that they could avoid thousands of dollars of debt.
“Under a new policy, people must pay back 25% of their emergency accommodation if MSD decides they are responsible for their homelessness or are not looking hard enough for private rentals.
“The toxic culture of Work and Income is victim blaming the homeless for a housing crisis which is created by an unregulated market, speculation and failed government policy.
“The private market simply cannot provide affordable housing for people on low incomes.
“Finding affordable and suitable private rentals is impossible for many low-income families
with the average rent in Auckland exceeding $500 a week.
“When people do find affordable rentals, this is too often substandard housing where they are exploited by private landlords.
“We are seeing an increasing number of people who are being denied bond money because the private rentals they are being offered are too expensive.
“While emergency housing is needed, it is a temporary fix for people. We need permanent solutions for homelessness.
“If the Government can quickly erect emergency accommodation as they are doing in Ōtāhuhu, why can’t they build permanent state houses for those on the social housing wait list?”