Peo­ple left with nowhere to call home

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Bulging wait­ing lists for state hous­ing are leav­ing Auck­land fam­i­lies in cri­sis for months on end.

And it is a de­grad­ing way to live, solo mother Musuva Ioapo says.

Num­bers re­leased un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act to the Auck­land City Har­bour News show there were 367 ap­pli­cants wait­ing for Hous­ing New Zealand homes in the Greys Ave-Morn­ing­side area when the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment took over ten­ancy man­age­ment in April.

The most re­cent wait list statis­tics, re­leased on Septem­ber 30, show there are 117 ap­pli­cants on the wait list for the Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board area and 202 in the Al­bert-Eden area.

Ioapo, cur­rently liv­ing in emer­gency hous­ing in Pt Eng­land, has never rented or owned a home.

She ar­rived on the doorstep of Is­land Child Char­i­ta­ble Trust with her two chil­dren, aged 7 and 10, last De­cem­ber after stay­ing with fam­ily for years. They have been there ever since. ‘‘I’ve been look­ing for a house for 10 years.

‘‘I’m sad and I’m angry. I feel sorry for my kids. My chil­dren need a home.’’

Is­land Child co-or­di­na­tor Danielle Ber­gin says emer­gency hous­ing is meant to be short-term but it has be­come a life­line.

‘‘This woman is be­ing so brave but she’s sad. It’s not about just plac­ing some­one in a house, it’s about help­ing Musuva be in her com­mu­nity,’’ Ber­gin says.

Another home­less woman, Olga Curry, has been couch-surf­ing with friends after liv­ing with fam­ily in an over­crowded house all year.

She works full­time and has been on the Hous­ing New Zealand wait­ing list since Fe­bru­ary.

‘‘We need a voice. There are peo­ple here re­ally strug­gling and we need to be seen. The peo­ple who are win­ning are the ones who own the houses. But what about the peo­ple who need homes?’’

Monte Ce­cilia Hous­ing Trust ex­ec­u­tive David Zuss­man says emer­gency hous­ing providers are in cri­sis.

More support is needed, he says.

‘‘The num­bers are stack­ing up against us and the equa­tion is go­ing to get too big to tackle.’’

Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment hous­ing as­sess­ment gen­eral man­ager Marama Ed­wards says a per­son’s place on the wait list is based on their level of hous­ing need.

Wait­ing times are not de­ter­mined by the list po­si­tion, she says.

‘‘Another per­son or fam­ily with a higher pri­or­ity may come in at any time, and peo­ple are con­stantly com­ing on and off the wait list.’’

Hous­ing New Zealand na­tional place­ments man­ager Ju­lia Camp­bell says it is the company’s job to match the high­est pri­or­ity ap­pli­cant with prop­er­ties that meet their needs.

‘‘Avail­abil­ity is con­stantly evolv­ing as prop­er­ties be­come va­cant, are re­paired and re­turned to the let­ting pool.

‘‘Our aim is al­ways to match ap­pli­cants to avail­able prop­er­ties that best meet their needs,’’ she says.

David Zuss­man

Musuva Ioapo

Danielle Ber­gin

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