Our House Deprived

July 11, 2018, 2:22 p.m.

1 out of every 100 people in New Zealand are house deprived. This is the highest rate in the developed world. A lot of households are home to more than 1 family with as many as 10 whānau members sharing a 3 bedroom house. For those that have nowhere to go either find themselves in some sort of emergency accommodation or even worse, homeless. These are the house deprived.

There is a massive shortage of affordable housing in the Far North, and this number keeps growing everyday. Wait times after lodging interest through rental agencies can at times be upwards of 6-12 months. In the meantime, what options do these families have as they await confirmation of a successful application?

According to Housing New Zealand's Vacant Stock Report from March 31 2018 there were no available rental vacancies to let. The Salvation Army estimates more than 190 families in the Far North are living either in emergency accommodation or in overcrowded conditions with more than one family of at least 4 members each on proprties with 3 bedrooms living in garages, sheds, tents even cars on their properties.

Helen Garea is 5 months pregnant and living at He Korowai Trust's Emergency Housing unit. - "People I see around town at night living in their cars, living  on the streets, it's getting worse and worse up here in Kaitaia"

"It's criminal that our country Aotearoa with the amount of wealth and resources at our disposal for our small population.. Tiny.. Yet we have poverty and homelessness within our communities" this from Rueben Taipari-Porter speaking on behalf of Northland Housing Forum at the Homeless Inquiry in 2016.

He Korowai Trust is one establishment that offers emergency housing. The 2018 Budget announced on-going support for their Papakainga initiative with hopes to create rent-to-buy homes. Through Housing NZ, another 3 homes have been promised to the area.

The increased demand and lack of supply is sure to see rental prices skyrocket. This has been evident in recent months with asking prices for a 3-bedroom home reaching upwards of $400. Without assistance from Ministry of Social Development, a family needs to save for months to be able to produce all costs associated with entering a new house. The average core figure needed to move in to a house is around $2500.

Tags: Poverty in the Far North Homeless


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