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Meanwhile, it has become impossible for most working-class people to save for a deposit on a house. Home ownership has dropped from 74 percent of households in to just Rents are also soaring. The number of people waiting for public housing has quadrupled under Labour to 23, households. The real extent of homelessness, however, is much greater. Estimates based on the census, by University of Otago researchers and the Ministry of Housing, found that , people, 2.

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with Carol not her real name , who is in her fifties and has been living in a two-room motel unit with her adult son for seven months. She explained that she lost her house following the Christchurch earthquake. Like thousands of other people, the money she received from the government insurer, the Earthquake Commission, was not enough to pay for repairs.

I did everything I could to keep my house. The government deducts one quarter of the income of every adult in emergency housing, and provides large subsidies to motel owners. You pay for your storage, you pay for your laundry. They can change the rules whenever they want… many people here feel like this place is nothing more than a prison.

It annoys me when people say everybody in emergency housing deserves to be there. In the DCM kitchen-cum-staffroom, Stephanie McIntyre sits forward on her chair, contemplating a question about homelessness. Their lives, and especially their living situations, can be extremely precarious, she says. Year on year, I become more aware of how complex it is. Many people experiencing homelessness also have mental health issues of some kind.

Compounding the problems, the Capital and Coast District Health Board has recently reduced funding for the advocates who work on behalf of people with mental health issues. On the housing side, Atareira provides a service called Easy Access Housing, which enables people with mental health issues to quickly find accommodation. But its 20 places around Wellington are constantly oversubscribed, McIntyre says. The result is that people who have been in hospital with mental health issues can often have nowhere adequate to go.

Capital and Coast board figures from show there were 41 hospital discharges to the night shelter in that year. We have not yet been able to agree that being homeless is completely counterproductive to being well.

If we can agree that someone is unwell, you have to have appropriate accommodation. There are less-effective support services out there, especially for people with mental health issues. Many of the homeless, especially those rough sleeping, have alcohol and drug addictions as well as mental health issues—a combination that government services are ill-equipped to deal with. But just turning up can be a challenge, let alone being sober. Another well-trodden pathway into homelessness leads directly from the prison gate.

Since the s, crime has fallen sharply, but the number of inmates in our jails has more than doubled, rising from 91 per , people in to per , by As a result, what happens when people move in and out of prison matters a great deal.

The reintegration of offenders into the community has become a priority for the Department of Corrections in recent years, and some progress has been made with people serving long sentences.

The bigger problems, homelessness experts say, occur for those on short sentences. When someone who has been renting a flat goes to jail, their landlord typically disposes of their belongings, unless they have made other arrangements. That means they often come out of prison unable to get hold of key things, including birth certificates and other important documentation.

Without that documentation, it is impossible to set up a bank account; no bank account means nowhere for Work and Income to pay a benefit into; no benefit generally means no income other than the small Steps to Freedom grant given to people released from prison; and no income means no accommodation. The Department of Corrections is understood to be looking at this problem. The department did not respond to requests for an interview.

The complexity of homelessness makes front-line workers reluctant to assign much of the blame to individuals. It is no simple matter even to find out which minister is responsible for the issue. The former Department of Building and Housing, which seems a reasonable place to start, is now part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but staff there referred New Zealand Geographic to the Ministry of Social Development.

Its staff in turn suggested that Anne Tolley, the Social Development Minister, might be responsible for homelessness. Her staff said that, in fact, the person responsible was Paula Bennett, the Minister for Social Housing. That announcement was principally about transferring the ownership of up to state houses a year to community providers such as the Salvation Army, a move which—irrespective of its merits—does nothing to address the overall supply of housing or reduce homelessness.

The government also promised to extend income-related rents—which allow individuals to pay, for example, a rent set at 25 per cent of their income, rather than the market rate—to another individuals, but did not give details about how this would be achieved.

Just having the issue of homelessness in New Zealand recognised would be the most important step. People are living in them. For Twyford, the solution to this problem lies in reaffirming the role of state-built housing.

People working on the front line are clear about the need to address the lack of housing of all kinds. Covering a smaller population than Wellington City Council, it has units of social housing, with thousands more provided by registered social landlords.

Cambridge also has large numbers of temporary beds for people with high-priority needs, as well as specialist teenage units, refuges, bail hostels, and wet houses—places where alcoholics can continue to drink while still being housed and receiving help with their addiction. Wellington has few if any of those services; attempts to set up a wet house, for example, have consistently foundered on community opposition.

That in turn drives a much more co-ordinated approach, with the city council providing a single point of entry for people who may be homeless and guiding them to the services and accommodation they need. In an ideal world, you would have a central point of entry for all housing. Stephanie McIntyre, who like Flude wants to see a much greater range of housing options, argues that with the right types of housing and the right support, even apparently intractable cases can be resolved.

And the critical thing is that within that cohort, we know some that are still rough sleeping, [but] we know some that have moved into accommodation and been there for a short time, and others who have been there for a long time. You can move from rough sleeping to stable accommodation. For some, that requires very, very significant long-term support. Sometimes it requires remarkably little. Often, people who are sleeping rough may insist that that is what they want, and tell members of the public that they choose to be on the streets.

He was quite retiring; you had to use a lot of care and respect to engage with him. And then the point was reached that he was ready. Now he is housed in a council flat, and looks years younger.

Even if homelessness can be tackled, is that our responsibility as a society? Will we be better off as a result? We do have a duty of care to look out for one another on an individual level, whether they are friends and family or strangers on the street. There is also, he says, an economic argument.

So will homelessness ever be eradicated? More by Max Rashbrooke. More by Camus Wyatt. Unlimited access to every NZGeo story ever written and hundreds of hours of natural history documentaries on all your devices. Signed in as. Sign out. Lost your password? Create an account.



Are there homeless in new zealand.New Zealand’s homeless have been moved off the streets, but the crisis endures


This paper examines homelessness in New Zealand, particularly those people living without shelter and in temporary accommodation given they can experience severe health problems.

The paper first provides a definition of homelessness and a brief history of unaffordable accommodation. It then reviews the current state of homelessness and characteristics. Finally, it outlines recent initiatives designed and intended to help address the issue. A working group charged with the task of developing an official definition of homelessness was established in July Homelessness was defined as having no other options to acquire safe and secure housing.

According to the working group, there are four categories of homelessness:. A University of Otago study using and Census data measured homelessness nationally.

Overcrowding nevertheless increased with the Great Depression. The Christchurch Methodist Church night shelter found that their main users were employed people who could not afford other accommodation, unmarried women with children, and those leaving homes because of domestic violence also increasingly sought shelter. In , full market rents for state houses were introduced, with the government providing an accommodation supplement.

The Housing Corporation was restructured, and some state housing sold. Contributing factors included a shortage of state housing, along with rents and bonds often being too high for beneficiaries and low income earners. Recent years — There was publicity and discussion over homelessness during the early s, and a report on homelessness for the Methodist Mission said that increasing attention from media and local government over the past few years suggested growing concern about homelessness.

According to the Committee —. On 30 June Priority A social housing waitlist applications totalled 3, It is very difficult to accurately estimate the number of homeless, but some figures are available see Table 1. The University of Otago study using and Census figures and emergency housing data estimated that 12,, dwellings would be needed to house the severely housing deprived population. These were in addition to housing required to address other forms of need, and underlying demand.

Regional estimates Some regional data is available see Table 2. Unaffordable accommodation is particularly an issue in Christchurch, where earthquakes have reduced the supply of housing, rental accommodation and social housing. Contrasting this, demand for low cost, emergency and temporary housing has increased. Characteristics and contributing factors Various issues can increase the likelihood of becoming and staying homeless. These include:. Based on the University of Otago research, in both and the severely housing deprived were predominantly children and young adults, ethnic minorities, and either part of sole-parent families or not accompanied by family.

Severe housing deprivation was associated with new migration, especially from the Pacific or North Asia, high residential mobility, limited education, unemployment, labour force exclusion and unskilled work.

Despite this, they had insufficient resources to obtain a minimally adequate home for themselves or their family. The number of males and females who were severely housing deprived was almost even. However, males were more likely than females to be living without any accommodation. Those who had not finished high school no qualification were particularly overrepresented.

More than half of all severely housing deprived people were younger than 25 years, and half of these children under 15 years. Of the counted in different homelessness settings by the DCM during May , the majority were male People living without any shelter are highly susceptible to potentially severe health problems. These can include poor dental and foot health, sexually transmitted diseases, venereal disease, liver disease, pneumonia, skin diseases along with malnutrition and under-nutrition.

Health problems are worsened by few medical facilities and services openly targeting the needs of homeless people living rough, and the stigma of homelessness discouraging access to mainstream health care. The focus on daily survival can also preclude seeking medical attention until problems are severe. Maintaining personal hygiene is challenging with difficulties around showering, washing clothes and storing personal belongings. Moreover, homeless people living on the street can be especially vulnerable to assault and injury.

Mood disorders, primarily major depression, are among the most common psychiatric disorders affecting the homeless. For example, disaffiliation from family and community can have a strong impact on self-esteem and a sense of identity. The Christchurch City Mission estimated about one person a day visited seeking accommodation, with about a quarter suffering some mental illness.

Housing New Zealand, through Community Group Housing, works with organisations that provide residential community housing. It aims to promote contestability by increasing the number and diversity of social housing providers, and increase the housing choice available to tenants and prospective tenants. The Ministry of Social Development, rather than Housing New Zealand, will assess the need for social housing to provide a more comprehensive view of social support.

The reforms have included changes so that social housing tenancies can be reviewed. A attempt to provide such accommodation in Wellington failed with opposition from members of the local community.

Conclusion Homelessness has been a continual issue, and concern has arisen over people without safe and secure housing. Factors that can be linked to homelessness include unaffordable accommodation, poverty and unemployment, mental health issues, addictions, traumatic life events, convictions and imprisonment along with the use of insecure accommodation.

The severely housing deprived are predominately children and young adults, ethnic minorities, members of sole-parent families and less educated. Health problems are common among the homeless. Addressing homelessness requires a multi-level and faceted approach including prevention and early intervention. A key measure is the provision of affordable accommodation. Parlinfo parliament. Unaffordable accommodation has been an on-going issue, along with concern over homelessness.

Factors often linked to homelessness include a lack of affordable accommodation, poverty and unemployment, mental health issues, emotional trauma and addictions. Affordable accommodation is a key measure to address homelessness. Introduction This paper examines homelessness in New Zealand, particularly those people living without shelter and in temporary accommodation given they can experience severe health problems. Defining homelessness A working group charged with the task of developing an official definition of homelessness was established in July According to the working group, there are four categories of homelessness: Without shelter: No shelter or makeshift shelter.

Examples include living on the street and inhabiting improvised dwellings, such as shacks or cars. Temporary accommodation: Overnight shelter or hour accommodation in a non-private dwelling not intended for long-term living. These include hostels for the homeless, transitional supported accommodation for the homeless, and women’s refuges. Also in this category are people staying long-term in motor camps and boarding houses. Sharing accommodation: Temporary accommodation for people through sharing someone else’s private dwelling.

The usual residents of the dwelling are not considered homeless. Uninhabitable housing: Dilapidated dwellings where people reside. According to the Committee — Further consideration should be given to whether current minimum standards were appropriate, and the ways relevant legislation could be updated and made consistent. The merits of taking a more proactive approach to ensuring compliance with building and health and safety standards or establishing a compulsory registration system could usefully be examined further.

More central-local government collaboration and coordinating mechanisms were needed to share information. Government departments could develop risk-based standards for local authorities to apply. Estimated size of the homeless population It is very difficult to accurately estimate the number of homeless, but some figures are available see Table 1.

Those without accommodation numbered 5, The prevalence of severe housing deprivation increased in all regions except Tasman and Nelson from to Severe housing deprivation was relatively consistent across urban and rural areas.

Of these, 1, were living without accommodation. Most severely housing deprived people lived in urban areas. A further 13 people who again would have slept rough were in institutional care. The average length of stay was 11 nights. For instance, they lived in garages or stayed with friends. Another seven were in crisis or short-term emergency housing, 12 lived in boarding houses and stayed with family and friends. This compared with in , of them experienced homelessness.

These include: Lack of affordable accommodation. Poverty and unemployment. Mental health issues. Alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. Emotional health and trauma. Traumatic life events include childhood abuse, family breakdowns or instability, foster care, frequent moving, institutional care and parental death. Convictions and imprisonment along with a lack of appropriate support following release. Discrimination by some landlords. Physical health People living without any shelter are highly susceptible to potentially severe health problems.

Planning Regional agencies, local agencies, and Tangata Whenua concerned with homelessness collaboratively devise and implement local homelessness strategies with culturally appropriate local solutions. These are informed by overseas and local good practice, and include standardised data collection processes. Prevention and early intervention Prevention is informed by an understanding of causes and pathways into homelessness, and knowledge of the social groups most at risk.

Data collection A standardised process for collecting demographic and quantitative data is introduced. Systems prevention Government agencies are asked to review and improve integration of their operational systems in terms of homelessness prevention and early intervention. Specialised service delivery Transitional and emergency accommodation is reviewed to identify demand and gaps in provision, and increase supply to address identified needs. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Parliamentary Library and abide by the other licence terms.

In New Zealand, homelessness is officially defined as having no options to acquire safe and secure housing. Housing Shareholders Advisory Group: Urban homeless those sleeping rough or in improvised dwellings likely to number less than with , in rural improvised housing.


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