TAHUA 2018: State housing funding not enough

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The budget contains measures to combat waiting lists for state housing. 

However, emergency housing advocates say the new budget allocation still won't meet the demand for homes.

It's been a long journey for one mother of three, who doesn't want to be identified but is now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I've been waiting for nine weeks to get to Te Puea,” she says.

“I was evicted from my house on the 8th of March, we moved into a motel.  We've been here for six weeks and we've been offered two houses”.

For another mum- who also wants to remain anonymous- and her five chilldren, it's been a six-month wait for a state home.

“We've been in hardship since May last year,” she says.

“I've been here for nearly three weeks and it's been awesome help.  My children are more settled”.

Under the Manaakitanga e Rua homeless programme,  Te Puea Marae has been able to fast-track families into permanent housing in approximately four weeks.

“Since 2017 to date, we have assisted 32 families,” says project co-ordinator Hurimoana Dennis.

The government will increase public housing by 6,400 homes over the next four years.  Part of the funding for this includes a $234.4mil operating fund from this year's Budget.

While these families are grateful for the help which will see then move into a home, it is unlikely today's budget will provide the demand for enough state homes to house homeless families more quickly.

“They are going to build thousands of houses each year.   We think at least 2, 000 a year are needed just to stop things getting worse,” says Salvation Army social policy analyst, Alan Johnson.

The mother and her three children will move into their state home at the end of this month.