Hous­ing prob­lem reaches cri­sis point

Matamata Chronicle - - Property - TERESA RAM­SEY

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.

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