"Give Māori the opportunity to house our people." That's the reaction from a Māori social housing provider in the region, to today's announcement from the Salvation Army, and their lobbying the government to find those providers that are passionate about providing home ownership rather than continuing the cycle of renting to families in need.
The group preparing a papakāinga for its inhabitants says its work will bring about social change rather than commercial investment.
Ricky Haughton from He Korowai Trust says, “My concern is that the Government is talking to mainstream providers rather than talking to Māori providers. Māoridom has the appropriate mechanisms in place. The trouble is that they’re not trusted and not used.”
Solo parent Lani Reihana has five children and is counting the days until her family can move into their own home.
“Just stability really. That's all I want is somewhere where it’s just home. We've always got somewhere to go to. We're never going to be on the streets or living in a car,” says Reihana.
Despite today's announcement by the Salvation Army, He Korowai Trust is adamant the government should be looking for social housing providers that are committed to helping families into their own homes as there are no long-term benefits for families if they continue to rent.
16 adults and over 40 children are poised to move to this papakāinga in the coming weeks under conditions that will ensure their families will be nurtured in a peaceful environment.
Reihana says, “I just want to change the cycle from that. I don't want them around drugs or alcohol or violence. It was an ugly scene for me growing up.”
Ricky Haughton says, “These families are going to get meat, milk, vegetables, medical care onsite, early childhood onsite, all the pastoral care, budgeting, parenting, mentoring, coaching, no deposit move in, $190 a week and they own it in 17 years. We think that's a good deal.”
This is another initiative that will provide homeless families with a leg up.