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More Money Needed To Keep Mentally Ill Off Streets

More Money Needed To Keep Mentally Ill Off Streets

22nd August 2002

The Government urgently needs to put more money into providing mental health housing, Green MP Sue Bradford said today, after a new report showed thousands of mentally ill face life on the streets.

The Green Spokesperson on Mental Health said that resources for community agencies which provide accommodation also need to be boosted immediately.

"This report from the Social Development Ministry confirms that homelessness, transience, discrimination and substandard accommodation are part of everyday life for people with mental illness.

"It's time to change that. People with or recovering from mental illness don't deserve to be dumped in the gutter."

Ms Bradford said the Residential Tenancies Bill should be given priority on the legislative programme so that people living in boarding houses receive better protection.

"The report also noted that many mentally ill people are in debt to the Department of Work and Income.

"That's because it's very very difficult to cope financially on an invalids or a sickness benefit, even without the added pressure of a mental illness.

"Restoring invalids and sickness benefits to their pre-1991 equivalent levels and requiring DWI staff to provide beneficiaries with their maximum entitlements from the time they register with the Department would be a major step forward."

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