Homeless count needs to be coupled with funding boost
AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
Homeless count needs to be coupled with additional funding boost
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s announcement to count every homeless person in Auckland must be met with a commitment by local and central Government to further increase funding for public housing initiatives in order to genuinely end homelessness. Auckland Action Against Poverty welcomes the move by local Government to put an end to homelessness rather than manage it, and is calling on Phil Goff to work with central Government to increase funding to housing initiatives and roll out the Housing First programme across the public sector.
“Organisations working in the frontlines know that the housing infrastructure in Auckland is simply not fit for purpose to put an end to homelessness in our city. While a decisive count will help give local and central Government a clearer picture of the levels of homelessness, it will need to be coupled with a review its Budget Responsibility Rules and housing policy to ensure that an appropriate response is undertaken”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.
“It’s difficult to imagine Government genuinely putting an end to homelessness with its current policies. State homes are not being built fast enough and the current Housing First initiatives are only being made available to those considered to be chronically homeless. To make matters worse, homes being built under the Kiwibuild scheme will be made available to rich speculators at a time where low income earners are struggling more than ever to find a home to live in. Access to permanent, secure housing should be the first step in any programme to address homelessness.
“Auckland Action Against Poverty released a set of demands titled ‘Not Enough Left’ last year in order to address poverty in Aotearoa. One of our key demands was a mass build of state homes, which would include a review of the approach both in the building and the redevelopment of state housing communities. Currently housing redevelopments on public land are not meeting the demands of homeless communities, with a large portion of the houses redeveloped becoming private homes. All the while there are 30,000 empty homes in Auckland that are being either land banked or not utilised for the communities in need.
“Previous homelessness counts, while being restricted to the city centre areas, have failed to action plans to end homelessness. Whether there are clear steps to address homelessness after the count will determine if this is yet another stunt by Government to look as though it is taking action on the issue or a crucial first attempt in putting an end to our fast growing homeless figures.”