Dis­abled people fear hous­ing re­views

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

chil­dren and are in an area with ad­e­quate sup­ply of al­ter­na­tive hous­ing will be re­viewed.

There are cur­rently about 5500 state ten­ants pay­ing mar­ket rent or close to it.

The re­views will con­tinue from July 2015 with up to 1100 ten­ants as­sessed from this group in the fol­low­ing year. THERE’S noth­ing out there for us.

That’s the big­gest con­cern for dis­abled state home ten­ants star­ing down the bar­rel of ten­ancy re­views that start on July 1.

The re­views aim to free up more state houses by mov­ing ten­ants who can af­ford it into the pri­vate mar­ket.

Twenty-seven of the 780 ten­ants in­volved in the first Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment re­view round have a per­ma­nent disability.

The con­cern, should they be asked to move, is that there is not enough ac­ces­si­ble hous­ing to meet de­mand, Allyson Ham­blett says. The 45-year-old has cere­bral palsy and has lived in her Pon­sonby state house for 15 years. ‘‘I know the sta­tis­tics, I know quite a few people who are dis­abled and in state hous­ing.

‘‘There’s a real short­age be­cause people don’t un­der­stand what ac­ces­si­bil­ity is. We’ve got to change that.’’ Ham­blett works at the Spark Cen­tre of Cre­ative De­vel­op­ment and is the chair­woman of the CCS Disability Ac­tion Auck­land lo­cal ad­vi­sory board.

She says stand­ing up and be­ing counted is im­por­tant for people in the disability sec­tor.

‘‘The voices of dis­abled people are lost. We’ve got things to say but we of­ten just get ig­nored or over­looked.’’

Wheel­chair user Dr Huhana Hickey, who has pri­mary pro­gres­sive MS, is in­cluded in the first round of re­views.

Spo­radic work, health prob­lems and trans­port dif­fi­cul­ties are is­sues for people with dis­abil­i­ties, she says.

Ev­ery­thing nec­es­sary to live an in­de­pen­dent life is linked to hous­ing, the AUT re­search fel­low says.

‘‘There’s so many dis­abled people just scream­ing for hous­ing. They reckon they’re go­ing to en­cour­age the pri­vate sec­tor to build ac­ces­si­bly but it isn’t go­ing to hap­pen right now.

‘‘At the mo­ment I’m well enough to work but in an­other year I might have to take a year off. We all have the in­sta­bil­ity of our con­di­tions.’’

CCS Disability Ac­tion re­gional man­ager Au­ri­ole Ruka says her or­gan­i­sa­tion has been flooded with re­quests for help from state hous­ing ten­ants con­cerned about the re­views.

So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Paula Ben­nett says ten­ants have noth­ing to fear. The idea of the re­views is to make sure people who need hous­ing most are able to get it, she says.

People who can af­ford mar­ket rent will be en­cour­aged to move into other hous­ing, she says.

‘‘We thought long and hard about ex­clud­ing the el­derly and people with dis­abil­i­ties from re­view.

‘‘No dis­abled or el­derly people will be asked to leave so­cial hous­ing and ob­tain pri­vate hous­ing in 2014 un­less they are ac­tively will­ing to do so.’’

Photo: LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

My home: Allyson Ham­blett of Pon­sonby is wor­ried about state hous­ing ten­ancy re­views. Mov­ing on: About 3000 state house ten­ants could be moved into pri­vate rentals by 2017 as a re­sult of the re­views.

Not enough: Wheel­chair user Huhana Hickey says there is a se­ri­ous lack of ac­ces­si­ble hous­ing to rent.

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