Government to increase housing for the homeless this winter

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the programme "aims to end homelessness, not just manage it."

Government promises more money in the Budget to help the homeless

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UPDATED 11.50PM: National’s housing spokesman Simon O’Connor says the Coalition government’s announcement on housing is a pale imitation of the previous government’s support for emergency housing.

Mr O’Connor says in 2016 National announced a $304 million emergency housing package to provide an extra 1400 places at any one time.

“That was new money to help thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders and it was on top of rolling out Housing First, building more houses and increasing the supply of emergency and transitional housing.”

EARLIER: The government has said it will spend $37.1m this winter to provide housing for the homeless.

By the end of September it aims to have 1500 more accommodation places than at the same time last year.

But none of this is new money. The increased spending on accommodation for the homeless will come from re-allocating money from the existing social housing budget.

The government though will announce new spending of $63.4m over the next four years in the May 17 budget. That money will go toward boosting the number of places available under the Housing First programme.

Under Housing First, people with housing problems are found accommodation quickly before then being provided with support to deal with their underlying problems such as poor physical or mental health, substance abuse and unemployment. It is an international programme which has operated in Hamilton since 2014 and been piloted in Auckland since last year.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says Housing First is a programme for the most vulnerable people and families.

“It aims to end homelessness, not just manage it,” he says.

For this winter the Ministry of Social Development is intending to provide 300 additional transitional housing places, 116 more short-term contracted motel units, 50 extra Housing First places and another 1071 places in state housing.

“Our government will make sure everyone is helped to find warm, dry housing this winter and our most vulnerable people and families get the intensive help they need,” Mr Twyford says.

Labour had campaigned strongly on the issue of homelessness, accusing the previous National-led government of doing too little to help those struggled to find accommodation. Last July Mr Twyford, then Labour’s housing spokesman, said National’s legacy was a housing crisis, which had given New Zealand the worst homeless rate in the developed world.

In the speech from the throne setting out the coalition government’s agenda last November it had promised to take action on child poverty and homelessness.

The government will be depending on today’s announcement to make a material difference this winter. The last thing it will want is media stories in the middle of winter about people and families sleeping in cars and garages.

But it still is going to use motel units to accommodate some people, despite its criticism of the previous government for doing the same thing.


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36 Comments & Questions

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That's all very nice, but I for one would like to see a govt that addresses the problem that I think is the biggest problem that this country has, the ultra high cost of everything. Something that started way back when the Lange govt was in charge, and has continued to be ignored by every govt we have had ever since. Regulating city councils would be a good start.

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A lot of things cost much more before the Lange government freed up importing and highly protected industries. But I take your point that the price of services has increased hugely.

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Are they building more houses? If not then they will just be throwing more money at the same supply of accommodation and rents will just go up more! Anyone who gets accommodation under this scheme will just displace someone else so there will be no overall benefit.

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Labour are just ignorant as they can not even speak to these people on the streets directly to find the truth of why they like to live there.

I have spoken to most of the street sleepers and they have mental problems and alcohol issues and they express their home is on the street where they like to be.

The street sleeper people will just head back to the street afterwards.

It is obvious that Labour is using them as a political football to blame Landlords and gain votes !

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Thats not actually true though insightful.

The key is to realise that when you want to get off the street most anything dry and secure with food is going to be a better option.

When its raining , and its cold and you cant find shelter, and you wont be sleeping until daylight because its not safe ...refer para 2.

The challenge for the government is to have the courage to build large quantities of lower standard shelters that provide more beds while the general housing stock balance is restored. This challenge is however only in the head.

If provision is in the heart then the courage to do this should follow.

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So you are effectively saying that being on the street is a "choice". Having observed an increase in homelessness over recent years I therefore conclude that more people are making this "choice". I wonder what drove this "lifestyle trend". Maybe the warmer weather or nicer parks the councils are wasting people's rates on ...

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Labour MPs do a drive by and see street sleepers. "How many votes can we get if we house these street sleepers for a few months ?" ---- Shhhh! Dont tell them about Jacinders $2 Million Dollar mansion she just bought ! We are a working class party remember ! " If word gets out we will just blame Landlords it will give us reason for more Tax increases ! "

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Yes they really are Chardonnay socialists, that are only really fooling the ignorant. They hide behind the Labour name. They stopped being a real Labour party back in the mid-eighties. Calling themselves Labour is just an insult to the real Labourites of the past. Savage must be turning in his grave seeing how this current lot have turned out.

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Forget about Savage turning in his grave. Putting aside religious beliefs, by all accounts father is a man of substance and mental stamina, having served with honour in the Police CIB, including a high case of spending 3 hours negotiating with an offender armed with a machete.

My thoughts go out to him, as he will be suffering on a daily basis, as to how he raised a daughter without principles. While those around him celebrate her success, he will be silently suffering.

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As an aside, does a minor part of Kiwi society have a serious grammar problem, specifically in regards to our Prime Ministers? First John Keys, then Bull English now Jacinder.

Can't wrap my head around it...

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Deterioration of standards in the education system. However maybe the Jacinders is deliberate as 'cinders' may all that will be all left of NZ after her inflamed term in office.

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I agree with you totally. I am sure it is a play on the word or it might qualify as "A Frreudian slip."

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Yes, like the Freudian slip of Jacinda stumbling over the word "sincerely" when delivering her oath of allegiance to the Queen during swearing in.

Jacinda claims she is a republican, and wants to get rid of the Queen. She is a Marxist, and would like nothing better than to be accountable to no-one. Dictators do not like the idea that there are checks and balances, no matter how benign. Appeals to the Privy council would go if we were no longer attached to the Monarchy.

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More free houses and you'll get more people looking for free houses ... it's happened everywhere they try this overseas.

Welfare is a trap, first into dependency and then into despondency. U;timately it creates more harm than it prevents.

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You know what I find intriguing about this country? If a large group of people have homes, choose not to insure them properly, and subsequently lose them to a natural disaster, in rushes the taxpayer to replace what was lost. But when another large group of people are prevented from having homes in the first place, often because of circumstances beyond their control, or systemic imbalances, we tell them to stuff off and work harder.

Go figure.

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The thing that amazed me more than anything about all those uninsured people in Christchurch, is that they had the gall to complain that the govt wasn't giving them enough for their damaged houses. Really. They were bloody lucky to be getting anything at all. Not to mention the kick in the teeth to all the people that bothered to insure their homes in the first place. They must be wondering why they even bothered.

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Go to Singapore and see what can be done with several billion dollars.

The country used to be dirt poor and had hundreds of thousands of squatters living in miserable conditions. NZ was ranked No 2 then in the world for standard of living.

Today it boasts of high living standards and there are no squatters.

What happened to NZ?

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Inter-generational welfare dependency created by the state.

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1. Divergence between wages & productivity growth, alongside unrestrained speculation in residential property.

2. Non means-tested super:
https://figure.nz/chart/vq48v1uPvNrm37C3-dIpMJc5np25p26lH

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One observation - few NZers were buying properties between 2008 and 2012 (5 long years) when prices were dirt cheap and interest rates were low.

Prices started moving from late 2012 and only when they had gone up 50% did NZers started panicking and buying. Too afraid of missing out appears to be a huge Kiwi character trait - very short term focus and a really dumb one imo.

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But you have to also remember that you are different from your average kiwi. I take it from your name that you are an Asian person, and like most Asian people you have known hardship in your life. Well most kiwi people haven't. Most have lived here all their lives, and have never known hardship as you have known it. I doubt very much if your average kiwi even knows what it's like to go hungry. They've always had the welfare state to look after them.
So don't be too hard on them, they just don't know any different.

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In short, it's run by kiwis, and what does your average kiwi do, they borrow, and live beyond their means. Then they take their bad habits into their jobs and businesses. Just take city councils for example. Run by kiwis that do what, borrow, and spend, with no thought of repayment or cost to the poor people that have to pay for it, ie the ratepayer.
That's what happened to NZ.

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You are doing so well Mr Ivan. Please don't stop there. Ask Mr Twyford;
"I say Sir Mr Minister, before you move a family into a "warm dry" state house could you please inquire as to the last house they lived in? Like, Why did they leave it? and, In what condition did they leave it in?

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Interesting point John Morrison. I remember growing up in Sheffield after the war, second one of course, not first or crimean! The council was engaged in demolishing the old "2 up and 2 down" slums and rehousing the occupants in brand new flats and maisonettes. Years later I was employed, for a while, as a "housing assistant" (PC for rent collector) collecting from the ,not so new then, houses and flats and I relised how the phrase "you can take the people out of the slum, but you can't take the slum out of the people." Some may know the Britcom "Keeping Up Appearances," well Onslo is a good example, not of everybody obfiously

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Yes I always find it interesting when these people go on the news complaining about the damaged state of their home. It didn't damage itself, you and your kids did it, and now you have the gall to complain about it. Really?

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As Lee Kuan Yew mentioned "why be surprised at the ever increasing welfare system when you keep incentivizing it"

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Singapore has a comprehensive population strategy that focuses on enriching it's current population--literally investing in the development of resident human capital.

New Zealand imports human capital (often of dubious quality as the recent Waikato DHB, WREDA, Beingmate etc. show) from other nations and places New Zealanders in lesser roles.

Singapore realised the potential of its people. New Zealand decided low wages, high debt, homelessness and depression was what its resident population deserved.

Singapore values its people. New Zealand does not.

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please do your homework before making such sweeping statements ... Singapore has a huge influx of outside labour ...

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"Government to increase housing for thehomeless this WINTER" Could mean a boost for car and camper rentals during the quiet season for tourists

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And there will be increase in homelessness to match the new budget.
Get real and deal with the real problem.
It is not homelessness it is those taking advantage of a welfare system that says we will support you no matter what.
Since we started putting so called homeless into motels the tarriff has doubled.
What a nonsense is that.
Some motels being used for this purpose have changed their titles from motel to housing village.
We need stick and carrot with this problem not just carrot.

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Go get the Southern Motorway finished.
It is a disgrace that is already 1 year behind schedule massively over budget.
If you want a job for life joint the motorway crew.
Get real and give the contract to an overseas civil engineering outfit it will completed in next to no time and we may be able to get to work and actually earn some money to stay of the street.
At this rate there will be a whole lot more living on the street because we can not move on the motorway to get home.
This whole project is a bloody disgrace.of poor supervision and extremely poor productivity.

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Here's a fix, offer the dum-dums some money to not breed, and stop bringing in thousands of refugees that have nothing, then needing to be housed compliments of the taxpayer. Or if they're going to continue to be let in, make the do gooders that push for them to be let in pay for them.
Problem fixed countless millions fixed. What a soft touch, no wonder the rest of the world want to come and live here.

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I haven't met that many refugees. The one I did meet and got to know a little came here from a war zone with a physical disability. He learned English, worked many years as an employee before starting his own business, which is now very successful, employing dozens of staff. I would estimate that over the years he paid millions in tax in this country. Not to mention the various charitable causes he is actively fundraising for in his spare time. Sure, he may be a stand-out but I can't help feeling insulted on his behalf.

(Edited)

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Eastern Europe people eat bark from trees for food and drive horse and cart.!!!
New Zealand has food outlets on every street corner and people have WINZ money in their pockets and luxury cars to sleep in.

There is No poverty in NZ ! Labour is scamming for votes.

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Thank you James. So if there is no poverty here we can just relax and start worrying when our first fellow citizens die of hunger on the side of the road. Because why take Eastern Europe as our benchmark for poverty and not the "proper 3rd world"? Until then they can first sell their "luxury cars", then nourish themselves from all those wonderful trees we have.

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I can't remember the last time I saw one of our poverty stricken people walk ten miles with a pot on their heads just to get water. But I have seen hoards of them lined-up outside the free giveaway centers. Most of them smoking, and looking like a good 30-40 kg weight-loss program would do them a world of good.
Yeah our poverty needs to be known by another word, Idleness.
Still while there's people round backing them, the shiftless will continue to flourish.

(Edited)

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