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Government Homelessness Announcement Is The Turning Point We’ve Been Waiting For

Community housing providers are welcoming the Government’s announcement of a homelessness action plan backed by $300 million of extra funding.

“In 10 years’ time New Zealand will look back on this announcement as a turning point in how we bring an end to the housing crisis,” says Scott Figenshow, Chief Executive of Community Housing Aotearoa (www.communityhousing.org.nz), the sector body for community housing providers around New Zealand.

He was commenting on the Government’s announcement of a package of measures to address homelessness, including 1000 additional transitional housing places, extra funding for its ‘Sustaining Tenancies’ programme and $20 million to work with Māori to prevent homelessness and expand housing supply (https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-steps-action-prevent-homelessness).

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at the opening of a new Auckland City Mission facility for women experiencing homelessness, Te Whare Hinatore. It comes a day after the Salvation Army released its State of the Nation report which provides a detailed report card on how New Zealand is doing on a range of social indicators including housing, jobs, and wellbeing (https://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/article/bring-everyone-together). It also coincides with a visit to New Zealand by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha.

Mr Figenshow says the action plan will make a significant difference in many people’s lives.

“A good home is an absolutely essential foundation for having a good life, and is a fundamental human right. There’s a direct link between experiences of homelessness and having an adequate supply of affordable homes for people to live in, and we’re delighted the Government has acknowledged that.”

He says community housing providers around New Zealand already provide thousands of affordable homes for people in need and will be delighted with the Government’s commitment to a plan of both long term and immediate high impact solutions, delivered through building capacity in our Māori and community housing sectors.

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