Official inquiry needed to address growing issue
Official inquiry needed to address the growing issue of
The New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness is urging members of the Government’s social services select committee to take a stand and agree to calls for an official inquiry into homelessness in New Zealand.
Homelessness is a complex and challenging issue and the NZCEH says the first step to overcoming it is a government inquiry to assess its scale and impact in New Zealand.
“Homelessness has been hidden in our society for many years and is put into the too-hard basket by many social and government services,” says NZCEH co-chair Corie Haddock. “It will take more than night shelters to fix this problem.”
An official inquiry into homelessness would allow:
1. The gathering of reliable information
about the extent of homelessness in New Zealand and the
demographic profiles of the homeless
3. A policy framework at a central government level to address homelessness
5. An explicit strategy linked in with other government social strategies, ensuring a funding commitment based on defined outcomes
7. A government agency with overall responsibility for homelessness and inter-departmental collaboration
9. A clear direction involving relevant government and community agencies with defined programmes that are adequately resourced.
“We need a national strategy that will remove the pathways leading to homelessness and eliminate the barriers that keep people there,” says Corie Haddock. “We’re at the crossroads: New Zealanders can address this escalating problem now and ensure it is dealt with, or we can continue to ignore it and let more and more people live on the streets or in temporary, insecure accommodation in our cities and towns.”
NZCEH co-chair Iris Pahau says homelessness is never a choice. “Research shows that homelessness is caused by a lack of options for individuals and is often the result of a series of tragic events in people’s lives,” she says.
“To address this problem, there needs to be commitment and leadership from central and local government in partnership with community organisations. New Zealand needs practical local, regional and national strategies to end homelessness in our communities.
We need programmes and services that will support people into accommodation, as well as ongoing support to address the underlying issues that lead them into homelessness in the first place.”