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NZCEH responds to the Inquiry into Boarding Houses

Media Release:
New zealand Coalition to End Homelessness
3 August 2011

The New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness (NZCEH) responds to the Inquiry into Boarding Houses

Members of the NZCEH presented to the Social Services Select Committee in response to the government’s inquiry into Boarding Houses today inWellington

Iris Pahau, Co-Chair of the NZCEH stated that the Boarding House Inquiry falls well short of the Coalition’s call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness that they sought in February, however, the inquiry may address some of the issues that affect the most vulnerable people of our society.

Corie Haddock, Co-Chair of the Coalition and Service Manager for Lifewise Trust, Auckland stated ‘that sadly Boarding houses have become more and more a pathway into Homelessness rather than a short term/transitional pathway into long term sustainable housing solutions for people. Boarding houses are no longer just a housing option for single males but are now being utilised by single woman, sole parents and their children and vulnerable families.

Stephanie McIntyre, Downtown Community Ministry, Wellington said that boarding house tenants do not have the same rights as people in other accommodation situations. They only have a 28 day eviction notice period as opposed to the 90 days for rental tenants. In addition, the onus is on the tenant to report unlawful evictions; tenants who often do not know their rights as citizens of our society and who when evicted from boarding houses are forced to live on the streets of our towns and our cities.

The Coalition’s submission sought for the registration of Boarding Houses, better monitoring of minimum standards, and educating boarding house landlords around their responsibilities under the Act. Service providers working with the homelessness population would welcome the opportunity to work with the landlords to improve the living situations for these people.

Boarding houses are a necessary commodity because of the shortage of affordable housing in New Zealand. There is a huge government investment in people who are living in these situations by way of accommodation supplement, provision of health services, provision of social services etc so every effort to improve their living standards would result in better value for the government dollar. The Coalition looks forward to the outcome of this Inquiry and again offered to work with the Social Services Select Committee to assist the most vulnerable people in our society.

ENDS

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