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Lifewise welcomes Labour’s move on homelessness

October 20th 2011

Lifewise welcomes Labour’s move on homelessness

Lifewise, a community agency which works daily with homeless people and the issue of affordable housing, welcomes Labour’s new policy on homelessness, released today by Labour's Housing spokesperson Moana Mackey.

“The release of Labour’s policy on homelessness is a significant step, for a social issue which has long been ignored by politicians in this country. Homelessness is a long standing and persistent problem, which is ultimately solvable but only with decisive action.” says John McCarthy, General Manager of Lifewise.

“Currently there is no one government agency responsible for homelessness. We’ve been advocating for this to change and we’re delighted that Labour has made this part of their policy” continues John McCarthy.

“It makes economic sense to address homelessness at its root cause rather than dealing with the consequences with a ‘sticking plaster’ approach. Homelessness costs New Zealand tax payers in terms of emergency medicine, police and court time not to mention poor outcomes for children growing up with no secure accommodation or stability in their living situation.”

To date there has been no political will to tackle the issue of homelessness; be it rough sleepers, people living in cars and caravan parks, or the appalling situation around some boarding houses. In the absence of a government strategy on homelessness it has been left to NFP organisations such as Lifewise as well as local councils to drive strategic developments to tackle this issue.

In little over three years, Lifewise has supported more than 180 people off the streets and into long term accommodation.

“We’re also delighted that the Mana party has committed to increasing state support for Maori and other community based housing providers to provide quality, affordable social housing for those in need” adds John McCarthy. “There is a critical shortage of affordable accommodation, particularly in Auckland, which results in children and families enduring cramped and unacceptable housing conditions. Lifewise is pleased to be working with other community housing agencies to address this critical need.”

Lifewise agrees with the Mana party’s position that it is the duty of Government to ensure everyone is housed in safe, secure and affordable accommodation. If it possible to have this legislation in other countries, why can’t we have it here?

ENDS

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