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NZCEH Response to the Housing Report

NZCEH Response to the Housing Report

For immediate release:

12/02/2018

A recent report released by Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford on Monday morning, confirms what many academics, researchers and those working on the front line of homelessness have been saying for decades: Homelessness is inexcusable and untenable in New Zealand.

Conservative estimates drawn from the 2013 Census suggests that as many as 41,705 people — close to 1 in 100 New Zealanders — are impacted by homelessness.

Those numbers have increased significantly, in July 2017 the Auckland Council alone put the city's number of people experiencing homelessness at 23,409 – three thousand more than estimates made four years ago.

Peter Humphreys, co-chair of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness (NZCEH), a voluntary organisation of key stakeholders in the area, addressed key concerns raised by the report:

“We have lost over 4,000 houses from the social housing pool since 2015 and yet we have 7,725 individuals and families currently on the state house waiting list,” One outcome from the report that came as a surprise to some, was the impact aging and homelessness will have on New Zealand society. It has long been noted by service providers and health researchers, that housing needs for this demographic have not been adequately met, particularly for Māori and Pasifika communities. At the opposite end of the age spectrum, there are also very few specialist services for young people experiencing homelessness – especially those who identify as LGBTI+.

Dr Shiloh Groot, co-chair of the NZCEH, cautioned, “The report provides a much needed – though far from solitary - wakeup call that homelessness can no longer be swept under the rug. Housing is a critical part of any solution, but it will not ‘turn off the tap’. This is because homelessness is often the visible symptom of much larger problems. The NZCEH would now like to see an actionable plan to resolve homelessness - not just as it happens but before it even begins”

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