Topic: Housing

Salvation Army calls for more Govt help for homeless

By Mānia Clarke
  • Auckland

The Auckland Council has turned a blind eye to the plight of West Auckland's homeless by allowing them to camp on its land.  But the on-going dilemma for the homeless has prompted the Salvation Army yet again to pressure the government for more housing.

Pictured (in video clip) are the remains left behind by some seeking shelter in West Auckland.  It's a growing problem for ones like Maverick and his friends.

When asked why they were staying there, Maverick said, 'It was me and my mate Errol first really, staying here, just me and him and his girlfriend and his dog.  Then all the boys starting coming over, and then it just got really big, and then everyone started doing it."

Which is alarming for one local community group.

Major Core Officer of New Lynn, Russell Sawyer says, "We're very concerned about that of course, we'd love to be able to help.  Certainly the housing situation in West Auckland is very grim, there's very little available."

It's a problem that was brought to light in a few reports by the Salvation Army last year.

Reina Harris, from the Salvation Army says, "There are a lot of homeless Māori families in Auckland.  A lot of children are homeless.  They and their families are living in cars, tents and out on the streets."

Sawyer says, "They come to us for food parcel, is basically all we can really do at our centre here in New Lynn.  If they do that, we do what we can."

When asked if they want to go home, Maverick replied, "Nah it's better out here to be honest.  It looks bad, but it's not, you know it is bad but we manage to survive."

The Salvation Army wants the government to do more.

Harris says, 'Firstly the government need to build 1000 social houses over the next 10 years.  Secondly, more support needs to be given to social providers to provide rentals for the needy."

There are benefits available to young people aged 16 or 17 who are unable to live at home.