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Real Progress on South Auckland Boarding Lodges

10 July, 2008 Media Statement

Real Progress on South Auckland Boarding Lodges

“Considerable progress has been made at the completion of the 90 Day Action Plan to address issues of overcrowding and substandard accommodation in South Auckland boarding houses”, Housing Minister Maryan Street said today.

“The 90 Day Action Plan was devised after I called a meeting of key government agencies in South Auckland and the Manukau City Council to examine how to address problems with boarding houses, particularly two located in Mangere.”

“The agencies have looked into the accommodation needs of the families living in Kiwiana and Abiru lodges. A total of 20 households including 16 children have since been assisted out of the boarding houses into state homes since April,” Maryan Street said.

“The agencies have worked together to identify which boarding house tenants need extra help and also to ensure tenants have access to social services.”

“This is a significant step in the Government’s ongoing strategy to address social issues in South Auckland, Maryan Street said.

“There has been strong collaboration between government and non-government agencies across South Auckland,” she said. “They have shown remarkable speed, determination and diligence to address this important issue in a short space of time.”

Work and Income (MSD), in partnership with Housing New Zealand, has assisted a number of these clients into alternative accommodation. The number of Work and Income clients registered as living in boarding houses has almost halved during the 90 day period.

Work and Income have been in touch with most of their clients residing at the lodges to ensure they are receiving their full and correct entitlement, along with any other assistance that they may require. Child Youth and Family assessed the safety of the children they were engaged with and provided a social worker to assist with families residing at the lodges.

Manukau City Council, charged with undertaking inspections of all boarding houses in Manukau City, has completed their inspections of 15 properties.
Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) established a team that visited the two boarding houses and had face-to-face visits with those families reluctant to engage with other government agencies. A working bee was organised, with the help of the local church, to clean up the outside of the boarding houses.

The agencies have also made contact with all known boarding house owner/operators in Manukau, asking for their assistance in identifying families that may require support and providing them with information to distribute to their tenants.

Significant progress has been made to develop a national policy on referrals to accommodation, including minimum standards that emergency accommodation providers must meet before they receive referrals.

“There is no doubt that increased pressure in the wider housing market is making it harder for vulnerable families to find accommodation, especially in South Auckland,” Maryan Street said.

“Despite the considerable pressure on the housing market in this area, Housing New Zealand, is managing to place families with the highest needs into a state home within eight weeks.”

“I will be taking a paper to Cabinet reporting in detail on the progress made in the 90 days, with a view to maintaining the lessons we have learned from the process and applying these to other parts of the country.”

The 90 Day Action Plan complements the Government’s broader housing strategy which last year saw more than 140 state homes built in South Auckland. A further 250 will be built in the next two years.

ENDS

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