Manaaki Rangatahi Welcomes The Acknowledgement Of Need For A Strategy To Address Youth Homelessness
Manaaki Rangatahi acknowledges the comments of Homelessness Minister, Marama Davidson, recognizing the urgent need for a strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness.
Responding to the story of Hannah on Newshub Nation, a young woman experiencing homelessness who described her experience of Emergency Accommodation as terrifying, Marama Davidson said that it was unacceptable, and that she would be working to ensure a Youth specific strategy was put in place that met the unique and individual needs of Rangatahi experiencing homelessness.
Hannah’s story highlight’s a gap in support that is available to young people who have not been institutionalized. Young people without a care experience are at increased risk, and have fewer options available to them, often falling through the cracks, and unable to access much of the limited Youth Housing support that is available. However, the situation for care experienced young people is still dire, with Manaaki Rangatahi members, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai voicing their concerns that young people in care are more likely to end up homeless, particularly at the transitional age of 18 when they ‘age’ out of the care system with no support structures in place. While an attempt to bridge this gap has been made with the age being raised to 21, there is much more work to be done with too many young people exiting care without access to safe, stable and supported housing.
The Minister acknowledged in her interview with Newshub Nation that what was needed was Youth Specific Supported Living Housing that focused on support and safety.
She further highlighted that a response to youth homelessness would require action from the Minister for Housing, Megan Woods, and the Minister for Māori Housing, Peeni Henare, who are responsible for increasing supply.
Manaaki Rangatahi member, Māhera Maihi emphasised this point, stating that though she had complete confidence in Minister Davidson "the person we need to be speaking to is Megan Woods, who is the [Housing Minister]. I think we need to have people like her at the table so we can question them."
According to statistics quoted in this Newshub Nation story, 19,000 under 25s are living in emergency accommodation, half of the 41,000 homeless are under 25, and 18,000 children and young people have been forced into poverty post-covid. Alongside this, research from Dr Terryanne Clark, in the Youth19 survey, revealed that 29% of young people at school were experiencing severe housing deprivation, increasing their risk of long term and chronic homelessness.
Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, also declared this week that housing is a basic human right, and one that is being denied to too many of our Rangatahi.
All young people should have access to their right to safe, stable, and supported housing, sadly, this right is not currently being upheld for many young people in Aotearoa.
Manaaki Rangatahi is concerned that without an urgent strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness the situation for young people is only going to get worse.
Manaaki Rangatahi urgently calls on the Prime Minister (as the Minister for the reduction of child poverty), Minister Woods (Minister for Housing), and Minister Davis (Minister for Children), Minister Sepuloni (Minister for Social Development), to commit to the creation and implementation of a Strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness.
Sign and share our petition now: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/end-youth-homelessness and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
The Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Youth Homelessness Collective was established in 2018 as a way of consolidating the work of different organisations who are trying to tackle youth homelessness. Member organisations including VOYCE - Whakarongo Mai, Lifewise, Strive Community Trust, E Tipu E Rea, RainbowYOUTH and VisionWest Community Trust, are calling for immediate and urgent action to respond to Youth Homelessness.