Te Puea marae chair concerned over continuing cries for help

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Te Puea Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis says homelessness and poverty are still major problems in the region, nine months after the Manaaki Tangata programme was closed at the marae.

Hurimoana Dennis hosted some of Auckland's community providers today to discuss issues and solutions to address the city's most impoverished 

It's been nearly one year since Te Puea marae open it's doors to the city's homeless however the needy are still knocking.

Mr Dennis says "Yesterday a mum came here looking for a home and food. That's the situation.  Even though we've ended (Manaaki Tangata) the homeless whanau are still coming here." 

The Auckland Public Health Association who organised the hui say they wanted to hear from those dealing with the regions most needy.

Auckland Action Against Poverty co-ordinator, Vanessa Cole says "We still see people who are living in their cars with children,"  

Yesterday the government announced its plan to build 34, 000 new homes in Auckland over the next ten years.

"What the government really needs to be doing is critiquing and strengthening all health and social services because the majority of the families who came to us, although homeless, their problems included family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, methamphetamine, mental health issues, suicide, budgeting issues," says Dennis.

The government is set to announce its budget next week, and community providers have clear ideas of where they want the spending focused.

Auckland City Mission CEO, Chris Farrelly says, "Minimum wage is too minimum. Umm, we have to actually get to a living wage where a family of four or five can actually afford to feed the family."

Vanessa Cole says "We need to spend more money on hundreds of thousands of state housing and on giving everybody a liveable income, including unemployed and employed workers." 

Te Puea marae is considering a revised second Manaaki Tangata programme for the winter months.