New Zealand Labour Party

Seven months for families in cars to be housed

Disturbing new figures show it is now taking the Ministry of Social Development an average of seven months to house families who are living in cars, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. 

“John Key made a song and dance about how the Ministry’s ‘flying squads’ could give families living in cars immediate help. Paula Bennett claimed her policy to relocate state housing tenants outside Auckland would give homeless families a roof over their heads ‘within days’.

“In fact the opposite has happened. In the June quarter it took an average of 217 days to house families on the state housing waiting list who were living in cars. That has almost doubled from the December 2015 quarter when it was taking 108 days. 

“Written answers provided to Labour also show there are more families living in cars. In the last quarter there were 88, up from 76 last September. 

“These figures show those living in tents or public places haven’t fared much better. There are currently over 75 families living in a tent or public place waiting for a state house. In the last quarter the Ministry housed 11 of these over an average of 157 days – or five months. That is up from 99 days last December. 

“While most of these families are given a ‘Priority A’ waiting list status, some have been given ‘Priority B’. It beggars belief that the waiting list criteria is now so tight that even people who are living in tents in a park or a car on the side of the road are not considered the highest priority. 

“It is disgraceful that the Government knows these families are living in cars or tents and is either taking too long to house them or is not housing them at all. It shows National has a fundamental lack of care,” Andrew Little says.