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AAAP Calls On Govt To Reverse The 25% Charge For Emergency Shelter

Two days after the Labour government secured their second term, they started charging people who are homeless 25% of their weekly income towards the cost of emergency shelter.

Auckland Action Against Poverty condemns the government's move to charge people 25% of their benefit and income for emergency shelter when it’s temporary, insecure and unsafe. 

“People who are homeless are not responsible for the housing crisis and already don’t have enough money to survive. Charging people for emergency shelter will put more families into hardship and prevent them from accessing basic essentials. Investing in warm and affordable public housing for all should be a priority for this incoming Labour government” says Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator Brooke Stanley Pao.

“People living in emergency and transitional shelter aren’t protected from the Residential Tenancies Act which means they don’t have the same rights as people renting. In emergency shelters you’re asked to extend every week, are often moved around at short notice and the conditions many of these places are in are unhealthy”.

“There are nearly 20,000 households waiting to get into public housing and the government hasn’t committed to building enough homes to address this. Rents are going up, benefits and wages are stagnant and we’re only going to see the situation get worse as we all adjust to living with Covid. The government has not put enough resources into Kāinga Ora to house everyone on the waiting list in the short term”.

“The government is showing a worrying lack of understanding around the conditions people live in when they’re staying in these emergency shelters. The housing crisis is being exacerbated by the Covid pandemic and we’ll continue to see more people becoming homeless and needing to access emergency shelter. These people don’t need the added stress of having to pay 25% of their already low incomes to cover these costs.

“We’re calling on the government to continue paying for this service for our communities who need it the most. We also want them to build and acquire enough public housing so that everyone on the waitlist has a warm, safe and affordable place to call home.”

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