19 Jun 2016

$5000 for moving to regions starts tomorrow

11:58 am on 19 June 2016

The 130 inquiries the government has received about a $5000 grant to move from Auckland shows it will help only a small minority, the Salvation Army says.

Paula Bennett during caucus run 1.03.16

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Paula Bennett said the grant, which would provide $5000 for state house tenants or the homeless seeking to move from Auckland to the regions, would be available from tomorrow, 20 June.

She said the government had received 130 inquiries about the scheme.

She said the money, which would not have to be paid back, was to help with the cost of moving, bonds and other costs associated with shifting house.

But the Salvation Army in Auckland said it had not yet heard of anyone wanting to take up the offer.

Spokeswoman Pam Waugh said at 130, the number of inquiries was a tiny portion of the people her organisation saw struggling with housing issues in Auckland.

"There are lot's more homelessness that's is quite hidden," she said.

"People are living not only in cars, but garages, doubling up with families where you've got two or three families in a household. That's still homelessness," she said.

"So it's not a huge amount compared to what we're seeing happening with the families coming through our services."

The bigger issue to address, she said, was the people who had jobs and good connections in Auckland but were not able to afford to rent houses in the city.

Ms Waugh said the grant may be appropriate for some, but it was not the answer for everyone.

"Wherever they go, they have to have the guarentee of housing when they get there. And they also need be able to look in the job market to see what is available to them," she said.

"There's no point in them moving to another town and then saying where are we going to live? The housing has got to be and ready and facilitated so they can move into them," she said.

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