One of our most immediate priorities upon forming Government was to get people out of sleeping in cars, garages, or on the street and into safe and warm housing. Since then, we've made major progress towards breaking the cycle of homelessness, including expanding Housing First, building more state houses, and creating over 4,000 public housing places.
This latest announcement is the next step in our approach - and it's a major step up.
When we took office, we inherited a homelessness crisis decades in the making. Not only did the previous Government leave us with a chronic shortage of houses, they were also selling off the state houses that people desperately needed.
That legacy will take time to fix - but we campaigned on tackling housing and homelessness and we are delivering. We have put a public housing building programme into action on a scale that hasn’t been seen in New Zealand for 40 years.
Now, we're delivering extra support to tackle homelessness.
We're increasing transitional housing places by the end of the year, adding to the over 1,300 places already created since we took office. By increasing the supply of transitional housing, we're further reducing the reliance on motels for emergency accommodation.
We're also investing in the programmes that have been proven to work. These programmes offer wraparound support services that help New Zealanders at risk of homelessness stay in their homes and not end up on the streets.
Additionally, we're making sure the system is consistent and fair for all people in social housing, no matter what type of housing they're in. We're introducing a 25% of income payment for people staying in motels longer than 7 days, making sure that there is parity between those receiving different types of housing support.
Further details of our increased support to tackle homelessness include:
- Creating 1,000 additional transitional housing places by the end of 2020
- Extra funding to the Sustaining Tenancies programme to help those at risk of losing their rental with practical support including budget advice, property maintenance, and mental health and addiction support
- Working with Māori to prevent homelessness & expand housing supply that is delivered by Māori
- Supporting young people leaving Oranga Tamariki care into accommodation with wraparound support services
- Helping acute mental health and addiction inpatients transition into the community with housing and other wraparound support
- Piloting a rapid re-housing approach for people receiving Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants
- Expanding intensive case managers or navigator support services for people in emergency housing longer than 7 nights
- Setting up a new housing broker service to connect with local landlords and help more MSD clients secure private rental homes
- Funding programmes to help people gain skills and confidence to secure and manage a private rental home
- Supporting the wellbeing needs of children in emergency housing, such paying for transport to school or early childhood education.
The full set of measures are detailed in the NZ Homelessness Action Plan here.