Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Forgotten People: Men On their Own

21 August 2006

Forgotten People: Men On their Own


The Salvation Army is calling for sweeping changes by the Government and social services to better help the growing number of Kiwi men living on the fringes of society.

Dubbed the Forgotten People in a report published today (August 22) by The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, these men live a miserable existence, said Major Campbell Roberts, director of the unit.

Major Roberts said that at one extreme were men who slept rough, or lived at a night shelter, and fed themselves from foodbanks, and sometimes rubbish bins. At the other end were men living in hostels.

Their accommodation and food were taken care of, but they had very little money left after their board and debts/fines were taken out of their benefit. These men found it difficult to afford even the most basic necessities, such as a toothbrush or soap.

“This is a group of men who live on the margins of New Zealand society. Where they are able to access the services of a community social service provider, they are usually able to have basic needs met, but they live a restricted and often isolated life.”

Major Roberts said social services and the Government appeared to have forgotten about these men who lived on their own with little or no family support.

“Current social policy and social services largely focus on the needs of parents with children. It is important to ask what might be happening to people who are outside of this type of household.”

The research report looks at the circumstances of men using social services who live outside de facto/marriage relationship or family household. Typically, they may have mental health and/or addictions; be on a low income or unemployed; and have criminal convictions or been in prison.

Major Roberts said working age, single men appeared to be largely ignored by government but needed focused policies and services to improve their circumstances.

“Complex as some of the men can be, they are still citizens and taxpayers. Many of them are also fathers.

“These men face multiple barriers to improving their circumstances. There appear to be few government services designed specifically to meet their needs, and they have limited access to the Government services that are available. Community based services are also limited,” the report says.

Philip Eichler, manager of The Salvation Army Men’s Hostel and Court Liaison Officer in Palmerston North, said that lower unemployment had helped reduce the number of men seeking supportive accommodation but that those presenting sometimes had more serious and complex problems.

“Mental illness is a big issue. It’s not unusual for us to be called in by a member of the public who has met someone needing our help and we often get acute referrals. The men will typically be homeless, dishevelled, destitute, and may often be new to the town.

“Once we can get some ID, we frequently find that they are under the Mental Health Act but have either been discharged from a facility or run away. Invariably, they stop taking their medication, which presents all sorts of problems.

“We are not clinicians but we now find ourselves often dealing with people who have acute psychiatric problems.

“It means the dynamics at the hostel can be very tense when you bring together on one hand, men who are vulnerable, and on the other, some guys who use stand-over tactics to get what they want. A large percentage of the men we see come directly from prison and are often high level offenders.”

The Salvation Army has put together a comprehensive list of recommendations to ensure better treatment of marginalised men. They include:

- A review by social services and government agencies of how well they cope with and meet the needs of men with addictions or mental health conditions

- Better education for men about mental health issues including when, how and where to access help

- Scrutiny of the benefit system for these men, including the adequacy of payments and incentives to get a job

- A review by the Department of Corrections of the assessment and treatment for addictions and mental health conditions while offenders are in prison and a look at the effectiveness of post-release support services

- An overhaul by Work and Income of their case management of men typified by The Salvation Army study. Staff needed to better understand the men but must have appropriate training

- That Housing New Zealand reviews the availability of housing suitable for single men and develop plans to improve supply in areas where there is a shortage.

  • Full Salvation Army Report
  • ENDS

    © Scoop Media

     
     
     
     
     
    Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

     

    Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

    The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

    ALSO:

    With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

    Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

    At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

    ALSO:

    Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

    “The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

    ALSO:

    Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

    Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

    ALSO:

    Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

    Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

    ALSO:

    More Justice & Corrections

    Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

    The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news