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Push To Get Homelessness On Policy Agenda

Push To Get Homelessness On Policy Agenda

New Zealand Coalition To End Homelessness
He turangawaewae kore, he wairua whare kore

To draw government attention to the issue of homelessness, the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness (NZCEH) has organised a National Homelessness Forum, at Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington”.

“The Coalition’s primary short term aim is to get homelessness onto the policy agenda”, said Clare Aspinall, Chair of the Coalition. “We really want to raise awareness of this issue which has been unrecognised in New Zealand for too long”.

“Due to a lack of recognition that homelessness exists in New Zealand we don’t yet have a national definition with which to collect robust data. This is essential if the issue is to be properly understood, responded to, and prevented from happening in the future. The goal of the Coalition is to eliminate homelessness by 2020”, said Ms Aspinall.

“Homelessness is not just rough sleepers or street drinkers who are often the focus of public perception and media attention. Also included are those who have no permanent, secure home or who live in temporary or inadequate accommodation”, said Ms Aspinall.

Homelessness affects a wide range of people - across all ethnicities in cities, towns and rural areas - including young people, families with children, older people, and single women. People with low incomes, poor health, disabilities, and mental health and/or addiction issues are at an increased risk of homelessness. Maori are particularly at risk.

”It isn’t a lifestyle choice. Homelessness is the result of, and an example of, the most extreme form of social exclusion. It’s a complex issue and is not just about someone’s housing situation. It is also about policy and systemic service failures, entrenched social disadvantage and discrimination”, said Ms Aspinall.

The Coalition is calling on the government to assist in the development and implementation of a National Homelessness Strategy for New Zealand, which focuses on both prevention and service provision.

“In the long term, we’d like to see the adoption of legislation that provides a “safety-net” for all homeless people”, concluded Ms Aspinall.

NZCEH is a coalition of interested groups, agencies and individuals who share the vision of ending homelessness in NZ. Its members come from local authorities, health services, and tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector, this includes church and faith based groups across NZ.


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