Five months too long for homeless to wait

New figures revealing homeless people registered with Work and Income are waiting an average of 155 days to be housed shows the Government is totally overwhelmed by the housing crisis, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says.

“What’s worse is that of those registered as homeless, a shocking 124 have at least one child. That is 124 families living in cars, couch surfing or spending the winter in the garages of friends or relatives. It is a national disgrace.

“Answers from Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett to Labour’s questions (see below) show that despite the Prime Minister’s assurances that homeless should just go to WINZ for help, they face waiting about 155 days to be housed.

“That is more than five months. In that time families could rack up thousands of dollars in emergency housing grants and motel fees – most of which will have to be repaid through benefit or tax credit deductions.

“These families are the acute end of the Government’s housing crisis. National has spent years turning a blind eye as skyrocketing rents pushed people out of their homes and onto the street.

“It is sadly unsurprising the homeless are waiting so long for the Government to house them. Instead of selling-off state houses, the Government should be building more,” Carmel Sepuloni says.