The need for more affordable housing and more effective intervention has been highlighted in a report by the Salvation Army entitled “Hard Times” which focuses on people sleeping rough in West Auckland.
Interviews were conducted with 19 people without current sufficient accommodation in West Auckland, the majority of participants involved were of Māori descent.
Research for the report was also gathered in an open discussion forum following concerns raised by front-line organisations who noticed an increase in rough sleepers in the area.
According to the report, “The primary problem relates to housing availability and affordability in Auckland, and it is a problem front-line organisations are unable to deal with on their own.”
The report calls for changes in current policy settings and for intervention to occur from central and local Government to reduce the degree of harm and suffering of people sleeping rough.
Front-line staff also highlighted the difficulty of being able to assist those without adequate shelter as there is a limited number of places they can refer them to.
According to the report “the reality is there is nowhere for staff to refer people with acute housing needs as the provision of emergency housing in Auckland is inadequate. If a person does manage to access emergency housing, the next difficulty is finding available permanent housing.”
In the report the Salvation Army highlights a need for more focus from all Government organisations of building more effective relationships with those sleeping rough and increasing the availability of services to assist them with a focus on affordable and adequate housing.