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Secret Cabinet paper scathing of emergency housing

Documents obtained by Labour show the Government was warned emergency housing was underfunded, unfair and unaccountable – just days before giving an utterly inadequate $2 million extra for more such accommodation, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“A scathing Cabinet paper released under the Official Information Act shows that as well an acute lack of emergency housing in Auckland, those in rural towns and minority groups such as people with disabilities, the elderly and the LGBTQI community are also missing out.

“To add insult to injury, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett re-appropriated the $2 million from funding allocated for short-term housing in Christchurch.

“Homelessness is a growing problem, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch. The Salvation Army estimates there are 20,000 people homeless and that doesn’t include those sleeping rough.

“This funding is just a drop in the bucket of what is needed to address this problem.

“Paula Bennett’s announcement last year was merely to look as if the Government was doing something to help the homeless as more and more stories of families living in cars and in garages were made public.

“Despite the paper claiming the $2 million would provide up to 30 more emergency homes by last month, the Minister has admitted that none have been built and tenders for the work are still to close.

“Paula Bennett has had this damming report for four months. No wonder she is too embarrassed to release it.

“The Government could end homelessness tomorrow if it had the political will. The homeless are being denied the Kiwi dream of a secure home and are the forgotten victims of National’s housing crisis,” Phil Twyford says.