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Manurewa Candidate Hohaia: Let’s get legal on homelessness

Manurewa Candidate Hohaia says “Let’s get legal on homelessness.”

Māori Party candidate for Manurewa Tasha Hohaia will be supporting the hīkoi for homelessness happening this Saturday in the local community. Hohaia notes “As with all movements that raise awareness though, we need to consider what we can make happen following this and call for a response.”

“Currently there is no statutory responsibility on government authorities to reduce homelessness here in New Zealand. There should be. Why don’t we have a law that holds us accountable for this as a nation?”

UK’s Homelessness Act 2002 imposes a duty on local government to formulate strategy to reduce the epidemic. It also signals a holistic approach that looks at potential root causes like fleeing a household because of the threat of domestic violence, and prioritises households with dependent children.

Some councils have a strategy to address this issue but there appears to be a focus on rough sleepers only. Hohaia states “The definition of homelessness from the cross-party inquiry on homelessness in 2016 encompasses temporary accommodation and rightly noted that sleeping in a car or a garage should not be considered an adequate home. Many are kiwi families who can't afford rising rent costs.”

Local churches and community organisations have continued to address the needs of their community at an impressive scale considering their resource. “We immediately require a strategy that addresses structural causes on multiple levels, as well as the local response.”

“Homelessness in its entirety of the definition, is something we should not subtly become accustomed to. Let’s get legal and call a response that warrants who we are as a people - that recognises this shouldn’t be normal for New Zealand.”

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