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More homeless in city a symptom of crisis

A survey showing the number of homeless people in Central Auckland has more than doubled in just three years is appalling, but will come as no surprise to the agencies confronted by the problem on a daily basis, Labour MP Jacinda Ardern says.

“The Government’s inaction in response to the housing crisis is at the heart of this growing problem. In recent weeks we have even seen them go so far as to denigrate and blame people who are sleeping rough.

“For Nikki Kaye, for instance, to claim those who are homeless don’t want help or are happy with their ‘living’ arrangements is inexcusable and plain wrong. That has not been my experience working across the same area.

“At some point many of those counted in this survey will have been failed by Government agencies. That needs to be acknowledged in the way we respond, as does the fact that the NGO sector has been left to pick up the pieces, often without support.

“The Government needs to stop pretending homelessness is a problem that they have no role to play in fixing, and put in some real solutions. That means more emergency housing alongside permanent housing solutions.

“Anything else means these numbers will continue to grow,” Jacinda Ardern says.