Early this year National blocked a proposal for an official inquiry into homelessness.
…Little said the decision was disappointing, as there needed to be a “cross-party consensus” on the issue. “No New Zealander feels good about children sleeping rough and families living in their cars…this is such an important issue that politics should be put aside and parties should work together to find solutions.” Little claimed that National MPs on the select committee supported an inquiry but “appeared to have been slapped down” by Key. …
Labour, The Greens and the Maori Party decided to go ahead with their own cross-party inquiry, which kicked off today:
Cross-party inquiry into homelessness kicks off
A cross-party inquiry into homelessness kicks off on Monday, with the first hearing being held at Te Puea Marae.
The perfect venue.
After the Government blocked their attempt to open an official investigation, the Green party, Labour and the Maori Party decided to go it alone.
Green housing spokeswoman Marama Davidson says they are ready to hear the cold, hard truth. “We want to give people a chance to talk to us face to face and tell us directly what is happening so that we can hear their solutions,” she says.
The group will also be heading to Tauranga, Wellington, Kaitaia and Christchurch to hear submissions.
Ms Davidson says it’s “abhorrent” the inquiry is not backed by the Government. “New Zealanders know that it’s wrong to have people sleeping in cars, squashing in garages, crowding in homes. Our Government should have been leading and wanting to end this, but they can’t even admit that there is a crisis.” …
The Inquiry has its work cut out for it:
Social agencies helping Kiwi homeless ‘at crossroads’, cross-party inquiry to hear
Social agencies helping New Zealand’s growing homeless population are “at a crossroads” when it comes to tackling the problem, a cross-party inquiry into the issue will hear.
In a joint written submission to the inquiry, Community Housing Aotearoa and He Kainga Oranga, Otago University’s housing and health research programme, said the Government needed to fund and provide more emergency housing.
“We are at a crossroads – only recently has an additional $41 million of funding for emergency become available from the Government [announced in May]. “While that has been well received from both people facing homelessness and from emergency housing providers, we need to look longer term and build a sustainable approach that brings everyone on board.”
The organisations said a “housing first” approach, where people were given a place to live before their other issues were addressed, was the best way to tackle homelessness in New Zealand.
Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the idea of an official inquiry had been “kicking around” at the social services committee for more than a year, before the attempt to launch it was blocked by National.
While homelessness had been an issue in New Zealand for some time, the “deepening” housing crisis meant many unlikely people, such as those in work and families, were now being affected. “There is this almost universal public disquiet to see families living in cars and government agencies referring people to slum landlords…people I think are profoundly disturbed by that.”
Twyford said around 450 submissions had been received from a range of people and organisations, including “deeply moving” letters from those who were homeless or had been in the past. …
The Inquiry will no doubt come up with useful recommendations. But to see them implemented we will need to change the government.