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Guest post: Corie Haddock on the homeless crisis

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, June 18th, 2016 - 52 comments
Categories: housing, human rights - Tags:

Corie haddock

To be homeless is to be excluded from one of our basic human rights, the right to adequate shelter. Contrary to common stereotypes it is not a personal lifestyle choice, and most homeless people also experience multiple disadvantages including poor physical, emotional and mental health, unemployment, addiction and exclusion from the social institutions others take for granted.

For too long this government has dismissed the issue of homelessness and the problems that are associated with it. Those without shelter are no longer restricted to the big cities, homelessness is now in every city and most towns in New Zealand and without a committed and collective response numbers will continue to grow along with poverty and other social issues.

The issue of homelessness has been an invisible reality in New Zealand for some time however over past 10 years numbers of those experiencing homelessness has grown significantly as more New Zealanders fall into poverty due to the impact of government policy and inaction.

Homelessness stems from a range of factors, many of which are inter-connected. For some it is a lack of affordable housing, for others it can be inadequate or no income and/or high levels of financial debt, others have unresolved addiction and mental health issues which have long term negative impact on their health and brings them to the attention of the law.  For youth on the street they tend to have a history of being in state care or find the street a safer place to live than home due to abuse and violence.

The reality is everyone has a different story but what they all have in common is the lack of any state funded support to transition them out of the situation they are in.

If homelessness is to be eradicated in our country it will require more than emergency accommodation, night shelters and soup kitchens. It will need a collective strategy to combat the social issues and barriers that lead to homelessness.  We need services that support people into permanent housing. We need the commitment and leadership of central government in partnership with community based service providers who have the skill, knowledge and resources to implement locally based homelessness strategies.

Ending homelessness will not be easy, however it is possible.  It cannot be accomplished by any one group, organization or service to end homelessness in New Zealand we need to commit to valuing all people and providing them with the opportunity to change and grow.

Corie Haddock worked at the coal face of homelessness in Auckland’s CBD for almost a decade, finishing in March this year. In that time he developed and ran person centred, innovative services that focused on ending homelessness one person at a time. He was also Labour’s candidate in the Helensville electorate in 2014. Currently he is the co-chair of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness, a national body that works at all leaves to address the issue of homelessness. Corie is now self employed working on innovations that can address homelessness at a community level.

52 comments on “Guest post: Corie Haddock on the homeless crisis ”

  1. Richardrawshark 1

    I lived that coalface, I know the realities of homelessness, are you going to elaborate on your plan? How do you break them from the loyalty they feel as a group with a common problem. I think you know what i’m talking about.

    How are you going to show them being part of a society they have basically been taught to distrust is good.

    It’s easy to talk the talk as you know it’s harder to walk the walk for 20% of them.

    Many of these new people need a wage or rent rebalance, to afford to live in a rental now, this is an added homelessness issue we have under National.

    Straight up everything’s so stuffed up and all over the place, living off the grids probably better.

    • Rae 1.1

      HOMElessness goes way, way deeper than that which is so obvious on the surface. It goes all the way down to renters who have been outbid by “investors” and are forced to rent because they don’t have the economic clout to buy.
      We need to understand what the “home” component of homelessness actually means, and in doing so, understand a huge percentage of NZers do not have somewhere to call “home”.
      Housing has become as precarious as work, and I believe if this is generally understood, more people might sit up and take notice, some might even understand they too, are homeless themselves.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        + 100000000000000000000000000000

      • Lara 1.1.2

        “Housing has become as precarious as work”

        Yes. This. So much.

        And I’m a person who earns…. a lot. But I live in a small town where the rental stock is very limited. I’ve noticed long term rentals here are being turned into short term holiday rentals… AirBnB, BookABach etc. It’s pushing up rental prices and reducing available homes for those in my town who can’t afford to buy.

        While prices of property have skyrocketed…

        Now, I’m not asking for any sympathy, I don’t need it, my income doesn’t warrant it. But I am still able to point out how the situation is changing here.

        As the mother of a school age child who wants stability of home and school for her child, even with my income I am not able to be confident I can supply that stability.

        And if I can’t on my comfortable income, how the hell can people on average or below average incomes cope?!?!?

        That’s not going to encourage a stable society.

  2. Bill 2

    Contrary to common stereotypes it is not a personal lifestyle choice, and most homeless people also experience multiple disadvantages including poor physical, emotional and mental health, unemployment, addiction and exclusion from the social institutions others take for granted.

    True, that it’s not usually a lifestyle choice. But this patronising and paternal bit about most experience da de da… I’m aware of many people who experience none of those things who are regularly on the cusp, or on the other side of homelessness.

    The landlord sold the home they were renting – homeless.
    The landlord is trying to sell the house they are renting – almost homeless.
    The landlord is putting the rent up – almost homeless.
    The landlord put the rent up – homeless.
    No affordable rental properties – homeless.

    In short, homeless people don’t need sympathy or well meaning people wringing their hands. Homeless people need this relationship between an ever higher income being needed to attain some measure of security busted up, pulled apart and buried.

    Homeless people need good and robust tenancy legislation. Homeless people need to know a landlord won’t be able to bleed them dry. And those who chase the supposed Kiwi dream of home ownership need to acknowledge that they contribute to the building of a brick wall, the weathered side of which homeless people stand on, and the weathered side of which far too many renters see on far too many occasions.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      I’ve made this analysis elsewhere … historically housing can be broken down like this:

      About 60% homeowners, with or without mortgages.

      About 20% renting in the private sector, and most eventually planning to move onto ownership. The natural rate of movement from renting to owning should be about 2% per anum, meaning the average young person or family should rent for about 10 years.

      And the balance of about 20% who for one reason or another will never qualify for a mortgage and should be in social housing. This group should NOT be renting in the private sector. Just blaming landlords for the issues that the result isn’t terribly helpful.

      I’d also strongly suggest we might want to look at expanding the range of housing models. Housing associations, or more non-traditional, non-market choices around multi-generational group living are all very much under-explored in NZ.

      And we shouldn’t overlook how retirement village model which are often successful and popular for the older age groups might also be expanded.

      • weka 2.1.1

        And the balance of about 20% who for one reason or another will never qualify for a mortgage and should be in social housing. This group should NOT be renting in the private sector. Just blaming landlords for the issues that the result isn’t terribly helpful.

        Why should they be in social housing? Why should they not be renting in the private sector?

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          Because in blunt terms, if they are in a position that they will NEVER be able to buy a home (for all manner of possible reasons), then logically they will be locked into renting all their lives.

          Now this may be fine for some people. I’ve no problem with someone who makes an informed, unencumbered choice to do so. But the challenge is two-fold; one is that our current rental market is not configured for long-term security of tenancy, and our Superannuation system is premised on the notion that by the time you reach 65 you are living in a home you own, rent or mortgage free.

          Our present rental market is quite unsatisfactory from both sides; tenants have little to no security nor assured long-term stability, and landlords are exposed to high risks from losses caused by bad tenants. Landlords are simply not social housing providers; no matter how fore-bearing or patient you are with a problematic tenant the end result is always the same, you are forced to end the tenancy. And the end result is another person on the streets, in substandard, temporary or insecure accommodation.

          The private sector is fundamentally not very good at providing housing for these vulnerable people. It’s why we invented state/council social housing in the first place.

          • weka 2.1.1.1.1

            Because in blunt terms, if they are in a position that they will NEVER be able to buy a home (for all manner of possible reasons), then logically they will be locked into renting all their lives.

            That’s not a reason to force them into social housing. I’m not really following your argument unless you are saying that we shouldn’t have better tenacny laws because that is unfair on landlords?? I can think of all sorts of reasons why people might be renting eg they shift to a city for a year to study.

            I can also think of many reasons why social housing might not be suitable for someone eg they want or need to live in an area where there is no suitable social housing, or the social housing on offer isn’t suitable. Why should those people not be allowed to rent privately?

            btw there are more options for tenancy reform other than status quo vs lifetime tenancies. And ending a tenancy doesn’t have to equate to homelessness. It only does now because of the property investment market and because of poor tenancy law.

            The private sector is fundamentally not very good at providing housing for these vulnerable people. It’s why we invented state/council social housing in the first place.

            “these vulnerable people” being anyone that has a tenancy ended?

            • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s not a reason to force them into social housing.

              Please point to where I used the word ‘forced’.

              I’m not really following your argument unless you are saying that we shouldn’t have better tenacny laws because that is unfair on landlords??

              Please point to where I stated that we should not reform tenancy law.

              On the contrary; I’ve argued many times that the matter is urgent and overdue. The current regime is unsatisfactory for BOTH tenants AND landlords.

              Why should those people not be allowed to rent privately?

              Please point to where I said that some people should ‘not be allowed’ to rent privately.

              Of course people should be free to choose to rent; but what happens when it doesn’t work out for them? Equally do you think landlords should be forced to accommodate people who cannot pay the rent reliably, cause damage or are a nuisance to neighbors and other tenants?

              Or are retired on a fixed income. Should a landlord be forced to fix the rent for the rest of their lives?

              Or they have fallen foul of the law and are inside for few months? (Happened to us twice now … not as easy a situation as you might think)

              Or they start out fine, and then after a few years their mental health deteriorates. Their rent becomes erratic, they become obstructive and unpleasant to talk to, they harass other tenants. And no matter how much you don’t want to make their lives even more difficult, ultimately you have to exit them.

              Or their ex-turns up and smashes in doors and windows. Repeatedly. At our cost. And then he wants to move back in as if nothing happened.

              Or they destroy a bathroom by running an un-ventilated dryer inside. Then stop paying rent. And then refused to leave when asked. And there goes another 10 grand.

              Or the girl with a sick baby, in and out of hospital for over a year. We carried most of her rent all that time. And in the end, no thanks and no repayment.

              And none of them are bad people. In every case we gave them multiple opportunities to get their act together. But all the other shit in their lives just meant that renting in the private sector was just not ever going to work for them. No matter how good their intentions.

              And where did they finish up? In the instances we know about .. with HNZ where they probably would have been better off all along.

              All I am saying is that if you want to rent and it works out, fine. But if it doesn’t then you really don’t get to make your landlord pay for the consequences.

              btw there are more options for tenancy reform other than status quo vs lifetime tenancies.

              And did you miss the point I made at 2.1 where I clearly stated that we could do well to expand the range of housing options available.

              • BM

                And none of them are bad people. In every case we gave them multiple opportunities to get their act together

                You just got used, buddy.

                • RedLogix

                  That’s what makes it hard; we are quite aware some people will use us if they can. But then most people we deal with are brilliant; many look after their ‘home’ better than we would. Many never a miss a rent ever, many are great to know and we’re sorry to see them leave.

                  One young couple even got a bottle of wine from us to celebrate buying their first home.

                  And as I said … the ones that let us down, it never starts out being deliberate. It’s always some other shit in their lives that pulling the rug out from under them, and we finish up being the buffer. Yeah we’ve been too soft in some cases, but not in others. You really only know in hindsight.

                  Most landlords start out too soft and learn the hard way that it doesn’t pay. Maybe we’re just slow learners.

                  • BM

                    And as I said … the ones that let us down, it never starts out being deliberate. It’s always some other shit in their lives that pulling the rug out from under them, and we finish up being the buffer. Yeah we’ve been too soft in some cases, but not in others. You really only know in hindsight.

                    That’s bullshit, people who do that are users, they took advantage of your good nature and screwed you over.
                    You obviously like to help people out and I guess next time when you start to hear all the same excuses you’ll be more aware and come down on them like a ton of bricks.

                    A lot of the time it’s the only way these sort of people learn, more stick, less carrot.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes some people are ‘users’, but it’s too glib and easy to label people from the comfort of your own warm home, warm food in your belly and a warm sense of self-righteousness in your veins.

                      And the question is … what ‘lesson’ do you want them to learn? That all landlords are indeed bastards?

                    • reason

                      Your showing your hand/personality a lot with your comments BM…

                      People who help others are far richer than someone like you could ever be ……………..

                  • “It’s always some other shit in their lives that pulling the rug out from under them…”

                    This part is key. Snowball effect, downward spiral, call it what you will. It’s real and it happens to everyone. Even when you know its happening, its not like you can snap your fingers and stop it.

                    These buffers are true heroes.

              • weka

                I”m really happy for you to clarify Red, but when you said this,

                And the balance of about 20% who for one reason or another will never qualify for a mortgage and should be in social housing. This group should NOT be renting in the private sector.

                in the context of the rest of your comment, I took that to mean that people who will never own a home should NOT be renting privately.

                I can’t see any problem with them renting privately myself. Hence I asked some questions to see what you were meaning.

                When you say someone would be better off in a HNZ house rather than renting privately, that sounds like a suggestion that pressure should be applied to tennants rather than landlords.

                And none of them are bad people. In every case we gave them multiple opportunities to get their act together. But all the other shit in their lives just meant that renting in the private sector was just not ever going to work for them. No matter how good their intentions.

                Having them live in state housing won’t solve the problem either.

                All I am saying is that if you want to rent and it works out, fine. But if it doesn’t then you really don’t get to make your landlord pay for the consequences.

                Sure, but there are processes in place or that could be put in place to limit that without having to use the idea that 20% of the population should have to use state housing.

                • RedLogix

                  I took that to mean that people who will never own a home should NOT be renting privately.

                  On the balance of probabilities … yes. I certainly wasn’t going to suggest any form of ‘forcing’ or compulsion. But ideally, when house prices more or less lined up with incomes, renting for most people should be a stepping stone to buying their own home. If you are going to rent long-term, you need to be damn sure that is what you want to do, and have a solid plan to save or invest elsewhere.

                  Of course I’m quite aware that in the current crazy bubble market buying your own home is out of reach for most people, so this logic doesn’t apply at the moment. And that is going to come with other real consequences down the line.

                  But anyway you look at it, if someone cannot make a go of renting successfully, there is no chance they’ll be able to make a mortgage work either.

                  When you say someone would be better off in a HNZ house rather than renting privately, that sounds like a suggestion that pressure should be applied to tennants rather than landlords.

                  Well yes. If a tenant cannot make a go of it, are you suggesting to ‘pressure’ landlords to carry the can?

                  Having them live in state housing won’t solve the problem either.

                  And having a succession of landlords evicting them really doesn’t help. The whole idea of the state being a housing provider of last resort, is that it is able to accept a higher risk and buffer for when things go wrong than a private landlord is able to.

                  Fundamentally the State has far deeper pockets and more resource than I do.

                  the idea that 20% of the population should have to use state housing.

                  And again, why do you think landlords should ‘have’ to provide housing for people who either cannot afford it or are unsuited in any number of ways?

                  Or even if none of this applies, what of someone who rents all their working life and reaches retirement with no savings? Now they face a very uncertain future. Superannuation was never intended to cover rental costs, and the private sector is under no obligation to provide it at a price they can afford.

                  Historically the private rental sector in this country is not well configured for long-term tenancy. And it certainly isn’t well placed to provide stable housing for vulnerable people with multiple problems in their lives.

                  And given that home ownership does appear to be in long-term decline, there is every reason to consider ways in which tenancy law can be reformed so that it does work better for everyone involved. I’d be all ears.

                • RedLogix

                  Look at it this way, with the median house value now close to $500k if you require say a very modest 5% return … the median rent needs to be around $25k.

                  Keep in mind that the landlord will be paying something in the order of $5k pa for insurance and rates, and set aside long-term about 2% of capital value at $10k pa for maintenance. Plus you need to allow for less than 100% occupancy rate, management fees and other costs when tenants move. Oh and the accountant expects to be paid. Tools, petrol, expenses .. and if you are managing the properties yourself then you need to pay yourself.

                  Plus you are expecting landlords to invest in good insulation and heating. Which actually makes good business sense, but ultimately the business needs to make a profit.

                  Costs per unit can be something in the order of $10k pa, and that is before you start paying the mortgage. If you’re paying say 4% on 50% LVR on a $500k unit, there’s another $15k pa. All up in order to break-even with these numbers the rent needs to be upwind of the $25k pa I nominated above.

                  These are all very generalised figures, but it’s easy to see how expecting the private sector to provide decent, affordable housing for retired people on Super, or people on low incomes less than say $30k pa … simply isn’t going to happen. You can ‘pressure’ us all you want, but the numbers just don’t add up.

                  What happens in practice is either landlords have owned the place for decades, the mortgage was long paid off, and they spend nothing on maintenance. Or they run at a cash loss and the LTC tax rebates off other earned income are effectively subsidising the rent.

                  Or they are land value speculators who don’t bother with all this fuss … leave the place empty and still make $100k pa in untaxed capital gain.

      • Rae 2.1.2

        http://www.interest.co.nz/property/69025/census-figures-show-home-ownership-rate-adults-falls-below-50-first-time-home
        I think you should take note of the very first sentence, and just imagine the figures in a short ten years time.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 2.1.3

        Why the hell should 20% of our population get a higher subsidy for their rent than everyone else? It’s not a small difference either.

        Why are the 20% of people who *can’t get into social housing* penalised? Wouldn’t it be smarter (not to mention more balanced) to make the rules apply to everyone?

        The reality is that those in private rentals have
        – less money for food
        – less money for school fees, uniforms, shoes
        – less money to save either in Kiwisaver or anywhere else.
        – more frequent moving costs (letting fees are usually 2 weeks rent down the drain).
        – so you’re disabled and need a specific type of housing? Tough shit for you if you are in private rentals. It’s either that or now you get to rely on charity instead of the state. How undignified.

        I am SO SICK of those stuck outside of the great state nappy being unfairly penalised, in many cases for the rest of their lives.

        • RedLogix 2.1.3.1

          Contrary to what you likely expect, I’m not going to argue with you.

          What you are expressing is a very real problem we do have in NZ, in that even the pretty damned miserly state support that passes for a safety net in this country, is not all that different to the ordinarily miserly incomes many working people are earning at close or just above the minimum wage.

          And without WFF even quite reasonable middle class incomes would see families with several kids struggling.

          So yes when you and your partner are working all bloody hours holding down a bunch of shitty jobs for shitty pay for a shithead boss … and you look over the back fence and see another family almost as well off for sitting on their fat arses all day … well of course it feels unfair.

          So yes I get why you feel SICK about it. But the thing is, the mob over the back fence is visible, they’re in your face and you’re living under a government that has actively encouraged you to see them as a problem.

          But here is what is NOT visible to you. It’s a number called the ‘Wages Share of GDP’. In most civilised countries its a percentage between 65 – 75%. In this shitty little country it’s barely 50%. And over the past eight years the Wages Share of in the growth of GDP is around 37%.

          In other words for every new dollar of value produced in our economy working New Zealanders, waged and salaried, only get to see 37 cents.

          And that is what makes me SICK.

          • Rae 2.1.3.1.1

            And the trouble that has brought about is, a certain part of the community with the wherewithall, owning all the property, and basically people farming to pay for it.
            People who rent in this country do not, by and large, live in homes, they have accommodation or shelter. Had we had it in place tenancy laws that better resembled Germany’s from the go, where people ARE able to establish a home, with a long term lease, one that can possibly even be on-sold as in commercial ones here, where they WERE able to paint and decorate, own pets, make gardens etc, where their kids would attend the same school, perhaps right through, we would not have got to this situation of people with no hope, thus no responsibility.
            Our tenancy laws and this whole business of every man and his dog that can, aspiring to be a landlord (started in the mid/late 80s) have, in my view, contributed, and in no small amount, to the breakdown in our society. We are now seeing the beginning of that rot creep up the foodchain.
            I would really like to see things start to be put into place to severely handicap speculators and to make “investing” in housing much less attractive. The purpose of housing must first and foremost be for people to live in, in a HOME they can call their own. Renting on a week by week basis aint it, not by a long stretch.
            I would add to that, the advent of “P” that stuff is the icing on the cake (pun intended) for the situation we are finding ourselves in.

    • North 2.2

      Yeah, what you say is painfully, painfully true Bill. I’m someone for now on maybe a gross one hundred plus per year. But only for two years into the future. I’ve missed the boat. I’ll acknowledge……addiction……too much indulgence…….wilfully courted craziness……too much waste in my life. I am not innocent and I do not complain for myself. I am old and resilient and favourably connected enough to handle whatever comes. But I am also atypical.

      What of the majority who are innocent of my failings/flaws ? The kids. Looks to me like for them the entire system is a lifelong rape at the hands of those doing pretty much OK thank you very much, and demanding more. Remember the TV heat pump ad’ where some vacuous coiffed matron prattles on about ‘our rental propert/ies’ ?

      At present because I have cash flow I am not in need of robust tenancy legislation. I will be in the near future. I have the moral fibre to more or less stoically accept that I did it to myself. What however of the lovely child who grows up knowing that they are underclass ? If in the future a percentage of them smash some faces…….we’d understand wouldn’t we ?

      And please right wing trolls……don’t cheaply comfort yourselves by coming back and telling me I did it to myself. I’ve already confessed to that and I’m not complaining for myself. I have no right to. I’m complaining for the young ones who are just as valuable as the young ones of those doing pretty much OK thank you very much.

      On their behalf I’m demanding ‘something’, not ‘more’. Just some prospect that doesn’t command perpetual membership of an underclass. If your face is set against that you’re gonna ‘get it’. What’s more you’d deserve to ‘get it’.

  3. Richardrawshark 3

    No ones mentioning the big white elephant , state housing switching to market rates, state house rents going from 100 odd to 500 odd.

    • Rae 3.1

      There is going to have to be a massive state housing rebuild, and these houses should not be just for those at the very bottom. There is much redressing to be done in our housing market

      • Richardrawshark 3.1.1

        -Rae If things were balanced i’d disagree, state housing is a temporary fix for people, or long term if they have unfortunate circumstances and disabilities, in the main.

        We should have ample low cost housing to help these people transition and get some funds behind them, hence cheap rents.

        The market could and should I think pick up those without hardship, but for this rents food and income have to be balanced.

        The right do not seem to realize the consequences of their actions, they think making more and keeping wages low is great aspirations, they fail to look at the downsides of this as usual.

        • Rae 3.1.1.1

          As long as wages and house prices remain completely out of sync, then permanent state housing will be needed or very tight rent controls will be.
          When state housing came into being it was to provide HOMES for working people, who were able to call them just that. We need to understand that many people, and not just those at what you call the coalface, do not have somewhere to truly call home.Most of our rental situations are, at best, precarious, that must change, and only the state can lead the way there.

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1

            And equally importantly I’ve always maintained the State should have a substantial role building affordable housing.

            One very effective way for the State to moderate a market is for it to be a major player itself. For instance State Insurance was originally conceived as a provider who set a ‘floor’ in the market. Or a ‘provider of last resort’ that met a socially acceptable minimum standard of product.

            If the State was actually out there building say 30% of all new homes, to a defined quality and price … no-one else in the market would survive if they offered less. And given that building costs per sq metre in New Zealand are roughly twice what they are over the Tasman in Australia … I remain convinced there is plenty of room for the public sector to take up such a role.

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep. Amongst other reasons it knocks the top of the rental market and stops the ridiculous rent levels we are seeing.

              • Pat

                and is the exact reason why they are loathe to do it….if you announce a significant state housing program what is going to happen to the market?….its not just idealogical though thats whats brought us to this point.

    • DH 3.2

      They’re not ‘switching’ to market rates Richardrawshark. HNZ have charged market rents on all state houses for a very long time. Tenants pay what they can afford and the Government pays HNZ the difference.

      Last year HNZ received the rental income from the following sources;

      Rental revenue from income-related rent subsidy – $704m
      Rental revenue from tenants receiving IRRS – $355m
      Rental revenue from tenants at market rent – $55m

      (the $704 million was paid to HNZ by the Crown.)

      HNZ makes very good profits but they’re largely from capital gain, not rental income. Bill English can’t spend capital gain which is why he wants to sell off the state houses.

      • Richardrawshark 3.2.1

        Confusing tom me then because a lady was saying the other day her rent went from 127 to the market rate.

        Is this happening by those who judge how much someone should pay then?

      • Richardrawshark 3.2.2

        Thanks DH, though I did see a news item the other day someone had to leave their state house the said they were now paying 5oo odd, and it had been about 127 ish from memory per week. The item mentioned she had started being charged the market rate. If the rate is increasing perhaps that’s why they are paying more.

        • DH 3.2.2.1

          I didn’t see that Richardrawshark so I don’t know the circumstances but I assume she lost her rent subsidy causing her rent to default back to the full market rate.

          The point there is it wouldn’t have been HNZ putting her rent up, it would have been the Govt stopping her rent subsidy.

          Housing NZ was cynically turned into an accounting exercise quite some time ago and in the process lost much of its reason for being. To the National Party HNZ is just a big landlord with no social purpose.

  4. ianmac 4

    Corrie’s first paragraph is so true.
    And the National policy of “selling State Houses as the are unsuited to needs” seems so cruel and seems to be a major factor in scarcity of roofs.

    • Bill 4.1

      Corrie’s first paragraph is so true.

      No. Corries first paragraph is misleading.

      He’s talking only about a certain ‘type’ of homeless person (acute homelessness?) and suggesting that the person with multiple issues beyond homelessness is what should be held in mind when speaking of homelessness.

      As I pointed out above, there are many people (I know quite a few) who have jobs, who have no mental health issues , who have no drug issues and who are articulate and confident, but who have wound up homeless.

      • Olwyn 4.1.1

        I agree with you Bill – the people with multiple issues beyond homelessness are just the most visible tip of a very large iceberg. Beyond them there are people who the middle class look upon as peers living in overcrowded conditions, or with family members in circumstances where both are barely putting up each other, or couch surfing among their friends, and so on. Haddock is opposed to emergency accommodation etc. being treated as a solution, but if homelessness is seen as solely applying to people who can be construed as different, the government’s response will always tend toward such solutions. Stable secure housing should be treated as a human right, and it is deemed a human right by the UN.

      • Rae 4.1.2

        You are so right, and I think it goes even deeper than that.

      • mickysavage 4.1.3

        As I pointed out above, there are many people (I know quite a few) who have jobs, who have no mental health issues , who have no drug issues and who are articulate and confident, but who have wound up homeless.

        But this does not contradict what Corie was saying. He suggested that there were common features for most homeless people. You are saying that there are many homeless who you know that do not have these features. There are a shyte load of people who are homeless right now so both propositions are not irreconcilable.

        • KJT 4.1.3.1

          I know plenty of people who are effectively homeless.

          Many have lived in my garage/basement over the years.

          Even most young couples with jobs, still have to live with their parents>
          In years past their incomes would have been sufficient to rent while saving for a house. Or they would have qualified for a State house. Not now. Which gives the lie to those who say that real median incomes have risen.

          • RedLogix 4.1.3.1.1

            Many have lived in my garage/basement over the years.

            Onya.

            In years past their incomes would have been sufficient to rent while saving for a house. Or they would have qualified for a State house. Not now.

            Exactly what I’m saying in a far more long-winded form below. The housing market in this country is broken.

            We are indeed fast becoming ‘tenants in our own country’. And for too many of us even that is beyond our reach … now its ‘homeless in our own country’.

  5. keith ross 5

    the other elephant in the room is the sanctions that are put on people who are unemployed by the welfare dept(not sure what the name of this dept is now).
    The difficulty of obtaining the dole and maintaining the income from this is very challenging for many people. The govt needs to relax the ridiculous rules like going to write your own cv courses over and over and miss an appointment ,your done,look the wrong way at a worker at the office, your done, for example. Having to report in multiple times which costs you money for no reason but to make life difficult for you.
    If the access to this was put back to where it was ten years ago then that would help a lot of people. Those that just drop off the roles but do not have a job go somewhere, the street in many cases.Stop punishing the most vulnerable in our society. The money that they get (tiny as it is) is totally spent and goes back into the community supporting other small businesses and the economy in general. by the time their income is spent and taxed multiple times the govt gets back a fair portion of this money in the end anyway. It is cheaper to pay them than not to .

  6. Binders full of women 6

    Vic Crone on 3news –penalties (or higher rates) for owners of empty homes. Sounds radical but I understand 1 of the ways that Dublin revitalized the inner city and high street was a penalty rate on owners of vacant buildings. And rates relief of some sort for owners offering vacant high streets upstairs as accommodation conversions. I’d vote for that.

  7. Macro 7

    The reality is everyone has a different story but what they all have in common is the lack of any state funded support to transition them out of the situation they are in.

    Quoted for Truth.

  8. Little Kiwi 8

    This is a really easy problem to fix and not complex.
    Stop selling the country to the world’s richest investors. No other country sells out like New Zealand. Invest in local skills and technology and stop selling finite resources to global speculators. Why is everyone talking about multipronged approaches when the cause has been obvious for years? Are they concerned about losing equity in their own properties?

  9. wendy 9

    I think it is disgusting how this Nat govt can cause such a humanitarian decline for their own greedy purposes & then just leave their rancid turds on other peoples doorsteps to clean up themselves…what exact effort are they putting into fixing their imposed shit themselves? Shouldn’t they be forced to…this govt can’t all be about fun & games with big boys toys, rubbing shoulders with the global elites, enforcing war games, inciting racism, inviting nuclear ships etc…surely they must take some accountability for what their greedy actions have caused & offer resolution of some kind. They seem to think they are wiser than the average peasant so why the heck should their shit be left for the peasants to pick up? Sickening, they are.

  10. jcuknz 10

    +1 plus whatever figure you like to Wendy.

    I formulated my position when I was renting back in the sixties or so and the problem was insignificant back then I think. I was paying up to 60% of my income depending on commission sales and had recently been living in a converted stable with just power and cold water to a sink. Quite adequate for a single person. Thanks to the consumer advertising people seem to want more these days … gold plated compared to my experience.

    There should be a state house in basic form for everybody who wants/needs it and if you can afford it and want better then go to the private sector. Simple?

    A trouble is that everybody needs something ‘extra’ in retirement and owning another or several more houses is the answer tax-wise. Twice in my life I have been in the position to do this but decided the fish-hooks were too risky and anyway my wife and I had been saving a good percentage of our income. cutting back on living expenses for ‘the future’. But today that is not possible for many and [whatever its called] ‘NZ saving’ is a farce at the small percentage permitted compared with what we paid. “what you do not see is not missed” the rationale behind PAYE and the Savings scheme. I feel for the self-employed as it must be cruel to see the tax going out.

    • Rae 10.1

      A massive state house build with quite loose requirements for being able to take one up, with no real limitation on occupation, maybe even “rent to buy” arrangements, would turn our housing market around very quickly. Just start at the bottom with it for those worst off and work your way up the foodchain, in the exact same way that homelessness is, at present.
      Investors will writhe like a cut snake, but they have had enough public generosity, in the form of no capital gains taxes, negative gearing, foreigners being allowed to skew prices, and welfare in the form of top ups (that they should be made to apply for I reckon). Their turn for a bit of the pain.

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