17 Jun 2017

Support worker shocked at shower over toilet in $370-a-week unit

2:43 pm on 17 June 2017

A man moving into an emergency housing unit in west Auckland was "gobsmacked" to find its shower was fitted over the toilet.

The shower fitted over a toilet in the West Auckland unit.

The shower fitted over a toilet in the West Auckland unit. Photo: Supplied / Barney Kuki-Wikitera / Facebook

Support worker Barney Kuki-Wikitera of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority helped the man, who'd been released from jail, to move into West Auckland unit last week.

Mr Kuki-Wikitera said the man was receiving money from Work and Income to cover three weeks of emergency housing at the $370-a-week unit at the Western Park Village in Ranui.

Mr Kuki-Wikitera said he never seen anything like the "shower-toilet scenario", and the man was "gobsmacked".

But the man had told him it was something he just had to deal with because it was the only place he could stay.

"He did make the comment 'well, in prison I have my own shower [and] my own toilet separate in my own cell'. So it was a bit of a blight on how we treat those in the community."

Mr Kuki-Wikitera didn't complain to the owners about the cubicle, because he said the unit was the only place available in the area.

"I should have, but I was caught in a bit of a tight spot because if I rock the boat he might actually lose this or they might not take any of our clients again. It's a catch-22 because we need the accommodation for some of these guys who have probation requirements ...and these guys are the only ones providing that."

He posted the image on Facebook to raise awareness of the issue. That's what a lot of our families face. If it's their only option, they can't really complain ... a lot of families just take it on the chin."

Mr Kuki-Wikitera said in other accommodation he had seen garages partitioned off with gib board, damp or cockroach-infested rooms and smashed windows covered with sheets, but this was the "last straw".

Auckland Council manager of weather-tightness and compliance Sally Grey said the council would be happy to investigate if further details were provided.

The photo Mr Kuki-Wikitera took suggested a number of breaches of the code, she said.

"The New Zealand Building Code says that sanitary facilities for personal use shall be provided in convenient locations. It would be hard to make a convincing argument that a convenient location for a toilet would be in a shower."

RNZ has contacted Western Park Village for comment.

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