Housing problem reaches crisis point
A report into the housing situation in Thames shows an accommodation shortage has reached ‘‘crisis point’’.
The report revealed professionals and families unable to find rental accommodation, as well as a substantial number of homeless living in cars or on the streets.
The qualitative scoping report was written by Thames Community Centre manager Sheryll Fitzpatrick and social researcher Joy Arthur, who both volunteered their time.
The pair asked for information from the community by posting a request on the Thames/Coromandel Grapevine page on Facebook and contacting social agencies. Arthur said the report was based on 50 respondents, who painted a bleak picture of the Thames housing market.
‘‘It’s a real problem, it’s been a problem for quite a while in Thames,’’ Arthur said.
‘‘It’s at crisis point, it’s really serious.’’
There were reports from social service providers that there were some homeless among their client base, sleeping on streets or under bridges. One social agency manager reported their service dealt with four or five homeless people per week, Arthur said.
The report revealed one person recently posting a notice at Countdown in Paeroa: ‘‘Looking for a place with my car in your garden. I sleep in! Just need a shower and kitchen and will pay for it any prices (reasonable).’’
However, the report said finding accommodation in Thames was difficult for a cross section of society, not just those in need of social housing.
‘‘A Harcourt’s property manager confirmed that there was ‘a very real shortage’ with only one property currently available for rent and that the situation in Thames had worsened considerably in the last six to eight months,’’ the report said.
‘‘Respondents included those who were employed and looking for temporary accommodation while they purchased a house in the area, beneficiaries or retired individuals seeking either a small flat or a room in an existing one, as well as couples with one child or as many as five children whose only option was to rent.’’
Some of the feedback from those already living in the area highlighted the immense pressure families were under when they had to leave their present accommodation within a very short timeframe.
There were also concerns about the high cost of rentals and one person experienced a bidding process for rentals that shut them out of the market.
Some also raised concerns about the poor condition of some rental homes.
The authors planned to release the report to the public and said it provided the footing for further more comprehensive research.
Thames housing report authors Sheryll Fitzpatrick, left, and Joy Arthur.