FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3 May 2017
10,725 demand specific policies to end homelessness crisis
The stress of homelessness led one young man to depression to the extent that he contemplated suicide as that was an easier way out, campaigners at Parliament today told Labour deputy leader Jacinda Adern.
A 10,725 strong petition was delivered to Parliament today calling on the Government to create an effective national strategy to end homelessness and make it an ongoing priority by creating a dedicated Ministerial responsibility.
“We need specific policies and Ministerial responsibilities to end homelessness and ensure everyone in New Zealand can have a warm dry home as a basic human right” said ActionStation Co-Director Laura O'connell Rapira.
The petition was delivered by James Crow of Gimme Shelter and ActionStation with support from representatives of the AUT Human Rights campaign group 'The Voice for Homeless Youth', Shahd Mahmoud and Tenisha Kumar.
“It seems ridiculous that there isn’t support systems to go ‘oh it’s winter let’s prepare for this” says James Crow of Gimme Shelter, “instead the Government just seems to cobble it together”
The petition was accepted by Labour Party Deputy Leader Jacinda Adern and Labour Housing Spokesperson Phil Twyford who will table it in the House tomorrow.
The delivery event highlighted the fact that unlike other OECD countries such as Australia, Canada and the UK, New Zealand lacks a Minister responsible for solving the growing homelessness crisis.
This year emergency housing providers are warning our homelessness is on track to reach a new crisis point this winter, with record numbers of families predicted to have nowhere to live, and it is even more urgent the Government creates a Ministerial portfolio for homelessness.
Shahd Mahmoud from AUT Human Rights campaign group 'The Voice for Homeless Youth’ described how they met a seventeen year old while making a documentary on the issue who said “the stress of homelessness led him to depression and at one point contemplated suicide as that was an easier way out”
More than half of the estimated 41,000 homeless people in New Zealand are under 25 according to a study by the University of Otago.
Jacinda Adern will table the 10,725 strong petition in Parliament tomorrow after which it will be referred to the Social Services Select Committee for consideration.
“A lack of housing affects absolutely everything - in particular we’re increasingly seeing kids without fixed accommodation, so absolutely I think most New Zealanders would want to see a government that commits to ending homelessness and the negative effects it has on our kids and communities” said Jacinda Adern.
“Along with a Minister responsible for homelessness, we also think the Government should have a nationwide strategy to end homelessness with a serious programme of action” said Phil Twyford.
James started the campaign asking for an effective national strategy on homelessness on the community campaign platform Our.ActionStation.org.nz when he saw the crisis emerge into the national consciousness a year ago.
The petition delivery event was crowdfunded by members of the people-powered campaign community ActionStation.
Jacinda Adern live Facebook video of the event: https://www.facebook.com/jacindaardern/videos/10154326485732441/?pnref=story