Record wait for families needing housing


The number of people waiting for public housing has almost doubled in the last 18 months.

Some of the fastest growth took place last year and, at the end of March, 11,067 eligible households are waiting for a place to live.

The near-record high statistics were released on Monday by the Ministry for Social Development and the Ministry for Housing and Urban Development.

The median wait time for people waiting to get into a house or move to a suitable house is now 107 days, up nine days since the end of 2018.

As special needs grants for motel stays rose to 4090, Housing Minister Phil Twyford told Stuff that the Government is committed to addressing the long-term issues New Zealand faces.

“It’s going to take a concerted effort over many years to end homelessness“, said Twyford.

He warned the need for housing rises as the colder months approach.

Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Ricardo Menendez March said the Government needed to move its focus from KiwiBuild to state housing.

“The Government’s plan to build 6,400 state homes over four years will barely cover half the families waiting for social housing.

“We are calling on the Government to shift its focus towards a greater provision of state housing instead of using vast amounts of crown land for private housing that is out of reach for the 11,067 families on the waiting list,” Menendez March said.

“To curb the millions of dollars on subsidising moteliers to provide unsafe emergency accommodation the Government should take decisive action to better fund Housing New Zealand, to strengthen renters rights and prioritise the build of more public housing it is currently planning to.

“Without a change of plans, the Government risks entrenching the conditions the previous administration created that led us to a record number of people without a place to call home.”

The Labour-led Government entered the 2017 election promising to fix the homeless crisis.

Labour housing failure

Before the 2017 General Election, churches also highlighted the importance of housing.

Speaking to 600 people in the Anglican Cathedral in Wellington, Cardinal John Dew reminded forum participants that in 2017 New Zealand had the worst rate of homelessness in the OECD.

At the same gathering, Anglican bishop of Wellington Bishop Justin Duckworth delivered a provocative reminder to those in Parliament.

“We’re talking about probably the issue that in the polls is the greatest issue facing New Zealanders. For me, this is no longer about housing; it’s just simply about do you care? Do you actually care?”


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