$35.3 million to go towards Māori housing

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Whānau Māori needing help to improve their housing conditions are now in luck after the Government announced $35.3 million towards Māori housing.

With plans to establish a Māori Housing network, whānau will now have more support in getting out of rental and into something more permanent.

$35.3 million has been set aside for Māori housing, but according to one emergency-housing worker, it's not enough for struggling families.

Patience Stirling (Ngāti Porou) says, “We need more accommodation for low income, Housing New Zealand need to come to the party.  It is so difficult for applications to go through, especially through Housing New Zealand.”

Mrs Stirling works for Te Rōpū Rangimārie o Tāmaki who find short-term accommodation for families.

$5.7 million has been set aside for a Māori Housing Network which will fund regional housing development facilitators to help at local level.

“They're living in garages, they're living in all sorts of horrible conditions that we don’t like to see our whānau living in, especially our tamariki,” says Stirling.

The Special Housing Action Zone programme will get an extra $1.5 million a year for the next four years.

Stirling says, “Lately it's been on TV about all the new homes that they’re building for our whānau.  Our people don’t qualify for those, our low income are just wanting basic home.  There’s no way they can afford those homes.”

Despite her disappointment with the Budget, she is hopeful that whānau will continue to be supported in other areas.