Senior citizen’s wait for state housing
The wait continues for a homeless senior citizen desperate to move into a state house.
South Auckland man Timani Tupou recently spent three weeks living in a small, cold room with wet carpet and no heater.
Work and Income temporarily placed the 65-year-old, who’s originally from Tonga, in accommodation at an Onehunga educational institute in June.
He packed up his belongings and moved out less than a month later because the room was too cold and had a water leak.
His daughter, who asked not to be named, says her father needs to be near family and his doctor in Otara as he suffers from a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe. He needs a warm, singlelevel house as his condition makes it tough for him to tackle stairs, she says.
‘‘Before he moved into the room he lived in a workshop at his church in Papatoetoe.’’
Tupou has been on the social housing register since May 6 with an A priority rating, the highest.
Work and Income assisted him with a non-recoverable grant to shift into a Mangere motor lodge when he left the room in Onehunga. He moved out of the motor lodge after three weeks. His daughter says she and her father viewed two short-term accommodation options in South Auckland on August 12 but neither was suitable.
A worker at one of the two places they saw told them it would take ‘‘three to four weeks’’ to complete credit and police checks on her father before he could move in, she says.
‘‘He declined it because it’s too far from public transport and to get to it he has to walk up hills. He can’t walk long distances.’’
On August 12, Work and Income found Tupou temporary accommodation in Otahuhu.
Ministry of Social Development deputy chief executive for social housing Carl Crafar says the agency is working with Tupou to find him suitable accommodation.
‘‘While Mr Tupou has a high priority for social housing, he has also detailed quite specific and changeable housing requirements.
‘‘The reality is there is a finite number of properties on offer that meet his needs and expectations.’’
Crafar says each time the ministry has learned of a housing issue faced by Tupou it’s worked with him to find a solution and will continue to.
‘‘We have helped him with $3414 of accommodation assistance and ensured he has some- where to stay.’’ Crafar says an additional $1396 to cover rent and bond costs was approved upfront for Tupou before he declined the accommodation he was offered on August 12.
Timani Tupou has been on the social housing register with the highest priority rating for more than three months.