June 25, 2019, 11:21 a.m.
Negative misconceptions of our communities most vulnerable is a factor that continues to drive the housing crisis, but one Whangārei rental company is breaking down those stereotypes and encouraging property owners to look at the bigger picture.
CEO for Rentals.Co Ashleigh Inglis has successfully placed over 40 families into private properties and believes other agencies could be doing the same.
“One common misconception is that they don’t pay their rent which is not true, they often have their rent set up on a redirection from work and income and we get it every week on the same day no issues at all.
“The second (misconception) is that they don’t look after the property and are not clean and tidy. Again, we find our most vulnerable are very house proud and we don’t have any issues.
“The other misconception would be around drugs, we test all our properties when our vulnerable leave and we find they don’t contaminate their houses, in fact it’s quite the opposite.”
Community Ministries Manager for Salvation Army Marlene Bowers says there are a range of issues from credit to addiction which drive homelessness and Whangārei is experiencing the impact of people leaving larger cities in hope for an easier lifestyle
“We’re having whānau return home so they’re leaving the Auckland area thinking it will be easier to find housing up here and they're not.
“We’re also not building new homes up here, maybe from a private perspective but not from a social housing perspective,” she said.
The Salvation Army Whangārei holds 16 emergency homes along with two motel contracts consisting of 12 units and in the last two years has housed 79 whanau with 68 of them going into private rentals.
Bowers agrees with Ashleigh that there is an unfair misconception in the marketplace that those in a housing crisis are likely to be bad tenants.
“We work with a lot of people who are working and they are working fulltime in our housing project so it's not just people that are on benefits, its people that are hard working, have full time employment and are needing help finding a home.”
Bowers encourages property owners to engage with local service providers so they can provide a history on clients so landlords can better understand their situations.
“I think it's (about) giving people a chance, if you’re working with an organisation like us, we’ve worked with them for a long period of time so we understand who they are, some of the difficulties.
“It makes people feel more secure so that if they run into issues, they've got somewhere to go to discuss those issues to give that whānau the best support they can to keep their home.”