The worsening of the homelessness crisis is not just an Auckland phenomenon:
Homelessness rising in Dunedin
The Government has been accused of avoiding its responsibilities after research showed homelessness rates in Dunedin have increased by 70% since 2001.
This comes as Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett last night said she did not read the University of Otago, Wellington, research because of ”inaccurate” statements made by one of its authors in an accompanying media release.
Anything to avoid the unpleasant truth, it’s the National way. I’m guessing the “offending remarks” are these, read ’em and weep (also contains link to the full report). But continuing with the above piece:
The research showed homelessness, or severe housing deprivation, in Dunedin had climbed by 70%, from 405 in 2001 to 687 in 2013. In Otago it had climbed by 67%, from 651 to 1086, in the same period.
Methodist Mission Southern director Laura Black said the Dunedin survey findings were not surprising, given the climate of rising house prices and the lack of good entry-level employment opportunities. She believed the situation in Dunedin would have become worse since 2013, as some people were still struggling to find adequate housing after last June’s flood. On top of that, house prices continued to rise. …
In other coverage:
Families with children now 53% of NZ’s homeless
More than half of New Zealand’s 41,000 homeless people are now families with children, according to new University of Otago research.
Let that sink in for a while. The stereotype of a homeless loner is way out of date.
The new analysis shows that 21,797 children and their parents were in “severe housing deprivation” on Census day in 2013, up dramatically from 15,085 in the previous 2006 Census.
Overall numbers in severe housing deprivation rose from 28,917 in 2001 and 33,946 in 2006 (both 0.8 per cent of all New Zealanders) to 41,207 (1 per cent) in 2013.
Families with children increased from 42 per cent of the total in 2001 to 45 per cent in 2006 and 53 per cent in 2013.
Labour’s press release:
Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.
“Social service agencies report many homeless people turning up looking for shelter are wage-earners. They just cannot find any affordable rental housing, and end up homeless or living in their cars or campgrounds.
“Now this has been confirmed by Dr Amore’s latest analysis of the 41,000 homeless in New Zealand which has found 52 per cent of all homeless adults are in employment or are studying.
“When most homeless people are in paid employment, you know something is completely out of whack under this National Government.
“It is a common misconception that the homeless are all people who suffer mental illness or addiction issues. What this report shows is that National’s housing crisis has pushed 20,000 of the working poor into homelessness.
“Dr Amore’s analysis of 2013 census data shows large numbers of young Kiwis are being put at risk by the meltdown of the housing market. The most common age to be homeless is 15-24 (27 per cent of the population). More disturbingly 24 per cent of the homeless population are people under the age of 15.
“The numbers also show the majority of the homeless are families with children. Just 7,763 or 23 per cent of the homeless were adults alone without children and 2,894 or 8 per cent a couple with children.
“This is a social and economic crisis. We urgently need practical solutions backed by political will, which is why Labour is working with the Greens and the Maori Party on the Cross Party Inquiry on Homelessness.
“It is just a shame National has turned its back on this pressing issue,” Phil Twyford says.
And National’s response? Paula Bennett in question time:
Phil Twyford: Are we still on the cusp of something special when most homeless are families with children, according to the latest independent research from Otago University?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: That is simply not true, so it is simply not true, actually, for the numbers that are—
Hon Member: The research is wrong!
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Actually, the research is wrong …
Doesn’t believe it, won’t read it. National “government” – what are they good for exactly?
— Phil Twyford (@PhilTwyford) August 25, 2016