Topic: Housing

Emergency housing grants for homeless

By Mānia Clarke
  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
  • North Island: West Coast
  • North Island: East Coast
  • Wellington
  • South Island

Te Puea Marae is backing a new non-recoverable special needs grant for families seeking emergency housing. The grants come into effect on July 1, and they won't need to pay back special needs grants to the ministry.  Marae spokesperson, Hurimoana Dennis says it will be a huge relief for many struggling families they've seen come through their doors. 

Dennis is welcoming the new emergency housing special needs grant as a great help for the families they are sheltering.

“That's excellent. They're happy about his, because, for some of our needy families, their stress levels will reduce. It's a good undertaking by the government.”

Some families had to pay over $1000 per week for emergency housing for many weeks, resulting in thousands of dollars’ worth of debt. One motelier who has been offering cheaper temporary accommodation to families at Te Puea is supporting the new grant.

Motel manager John McMeekin says, “It's a positive for the families that have been struggling, and have had to repay debts to WINZ, and it's just gonna take a lot of pressure off the families.”

Last month, the Minister of Social Housing announced the new emergency housing needs grant in the Budget. The availability of the grant was brought forward from September to July in response to need and in order to help more people sooner.

McMeekin says, “It's been quite sad because the families come in, they've got children, they stand in the lobby and the children are in the corner, head down.  It's really really sad.”              

Dennis says, “We advocate for the families with social service staff, their issues, and situation, so we can understand fully, what their concerns are, and what are their hopes.”

The new grant becomes available on Friday.