Se­nior cit­i­zen’s wait for state hous­ing

Central Leader - - WINTER WELLNESS - CHRIS HARROWELL

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.

CHRIS HARROWELL / FAIR­FAX NZ

Ti­mani Tupou has been on the so­cial hous­ing reg­is­ter with the high­est pri­or­ity rat­ing for more than three months.

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