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Housing solutions don't include harassing homeless

4 September 2008

Housing solutions don't include harassing homeless: Greens

Auckland City Councillor Paul Goldsmith's "blame the victim" response to the homeless is the worst way to handle New Zealand's housing crisis, the Green Party says.

Housing Spokesperson Sue Bradford - commenting on Mr Goldsmith's call for wider police powers to move the homeless on - says arresting homeless people is not the answer.

"Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson's plans to provide beds for the homeless in a planned inner-city complex is a more compassionate and realistic response to this important issue."

Ms Bradford says healthy housing is a basic right for all New Zealanders. And the Green Party's housing policy - launched this week - focuses on practical solutions, rather than Mr Goldsmith's "sweep it under the carpet" response.

"It's vital to act with compassion and commonsense rather than inflammatory rhetoric when dealing with some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

"Providing effective answers to the housing crisis is the real answer. The foundation of our national housing strategy is that no one remains homeless or in inadequate or substandard housing. Increasing investment in housing will pay future dividends in a fairer and more caring society."

The Green Party's policy on homelessness includes:

* Increasing the rate of state home building and acquisition to a minimum 3000 houses a year for the next three years.

* Providing major funding for third sector and iwi housing organisations, allowing for a minimum of 1000 houses per year to be built over the next three years.

* Creating a legal duty on the public sector to ensure housing needs of those most in need are met.

* Providing more support to community organisations working with and for the homeless, while urgently addressing the shortfall in housing for people living with or recovering from mental illness and addictions.

* Funding major research into the true level and nature of homelessness in Auckland and throughout urban and rural New Zealand.

"The problem of homelessness is much larger than many realise. It is time to take urgent action to help everyone in need, not only those sleeping out, but also people who move from one temporary source of shelter to another, and those in various forms of substandard, inadequate or overcrowded accommodation."


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