People left with nowhere to call home
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.