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The Real Housing Crisis

Media Release

Date:22 Aug 2014

The Real Housing Crisis

Housing Call to Action are launching a campaign to raise awareness of homelessness and the lack of housing in West Auckland from 1st - 8th September.

Pop up activities such as street theatre and displays will occur throughout West Auckland, accompanied by a social media campaign highlighting peoples housing stories. On Wednesday, 6pm, September the 3rd , at Hub West, 27 Corban Avenue, Henderson, there will be a public meeting with a panel of representatives from political parties to answer key housing questions. Anyone experiencing housing difficulties is urged to attend. Free soup and buns will be provided.

“A shortage of houses and rising house prices has resulted in a sharp increase in rents, with the average 3 bedroom rental in West Auckland costing $440pw. The minimum wage after tax for a 40 hour week is approximately $460. Affordable housing is supposed to be spending no more than 30% of your income on housing, meaning there is no surprise that 40% of tenants in private rentals are receiving the maximum accommodation supplement from Work and Income. Many people have little left to live on after rent is paid.” says Louise Guy, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust social worker in West Auckland.

There is immense pressure on existing housing. Social housing wait lists (mainly Housing New Zealand) have grown dramatically over the past three years. Currently the Henderson-Massey Local Board area has the highest waiting list in the Auckland region (427), with 246 applications made up of families and individuals on the Priority A List. Priority A housing is classified as those at risk and in immediate need of housing, with Priority B classified as those who have severe housing needs.

Currently there are extremely limited emergency housing options in West Auckland, and these are full to capacity leaving many families and individuals to seek shelter in temporary accommodation such as cars, garages, overcrowded houses, caravans, converted carports and decks, and tents. It is not uncommon for social workers and health workers to report that there are frequent situations with 3 families with young children living in 3 bedroom houses. One scenario described was 30 people living in a four bedroom house.

Living in these sorts of situations often leads to poor health, social, developmental and educational outcomes including rheumatic fever, skin and respiratory infections, stress and family violence. Being transient and having to move often means that children do not receive opportunities to achieve their potential educationally, and make lasting friendships.

The campaign intends to achieve increased awareness of housing issues and their impacts on families and children in West Auckland. “We are working towards both short and long term solutions to homelessness and welcome all who would like to join our network.” says Lee Hickey, convenor of Housing Call to Action.

ENDS

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