Housing rally pushes for government action

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

With the housing crisis at the top of the election agenda this year a housing rally held in Napier today is pushing for solutions to secure affordable housing for all New Zealanders.

"I'm homeless on the street," says Turei Cooper "I've been on the street for five years and no-one helped us to get homes and all that."

He came to the rally wrapped in his blanket that he uses to sleep in at night hoping to hear some solutions to help not only himself but others in his situation.

The rally was organised by the Community Housing Action Team (CHAT) along with the support of other local community groups who say the housing situation is not getting any better.

"It's getting worse we've noticed with the rough sleepers that the numbers of rough sleepers have increased dramatically we deal with a lot of families that need three and four bedroom houses, the issue is getting a lot worse than what it was a couple of years ago," says Kevin Swannell of Limitless Hope.

"It's not just rough sleepers," says rally organiser and CHAT representative Michelle Pyke, "it's about the rental market, it's about the elderly not being able to get into rest homes, it's the whole continuum."

Latest figures show there are over 5300 people across New Zealand on the Housing Register, an increase of almost 38.1 per cent compared to the same time last year.

The group says rather than emergency housing it wants political parties to commit to implementing long term housing solutions.

"We want to stop the state housing sell off that's the first thing this government's taken about $1.8 billion dollars out of Housing New Zealand in dividends and interest that could've built 5000 state homes," says Labour's Meka Whaitiri.

"The Green Party plans to build 10,000 homes in three years affordable homes at 30% of the income of the tenant that way the government can guarantee a warm safe home for low income families," says Damon Rusden of the Green Party.

The organisers hope today's rally will push more urgency into cementing solutions for today's housing crisis.