10 Oct 2016

Homelessness inquiry recommends national strategy

12:39 pm on 10 October 2016

A political cross-party inquiry on homelessness has made 20 recommendations in its just-released final report.

Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party joined forces to hold an inquiry into ending homelessness and say it shows there is no doubt the country has a housing crisis.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little with the Greens and the Māori  Party at the release of the cross-party inquiry into homelessness.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little with the Greens and the Māori Party at the release of the cross-party inquiry into homelessness. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

In their report they recommend using the government's Housing First programme to immediately place homeless people into long-term housing, increasing the stock of state housing and creating a national strategy to end homelessness.

They also suggest using vacant state houses for emergency housing, expanding housing for the elderly and permanently removing the Housing New Zealand dividend.

Green Party co-leader Meitira Turei said the ball was now in the government's court.

"It is now up to government to take this report, and its recommendations and more importantly than anything, the stories of the families who came and told what their lives were like, seriously."

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox not just Auckland was affected - there was also a bow-wave of homelessness hitting the regions.

"Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier - all of those places are already under pressure and it will continue if we do not do anything immediately to halt the broken system that is failing to protect our whanau."

Labour Party leader Andrew Little paid tribute to Ms Fox for taking part in the inquiry.

"Because it's rare but also pretty brave for an MP from a support party to Government to come on board and exercise like this knowing that what is going to come out is a set of not just criticisms, but recommendations that go against the orthodoxy of the Government of the day."

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said today she would take some time to go through the report, and if any of the recommendations were new or useful the Government would consider taking them on.

"While I have yet to go through the report fully, on the face of it many of the recommendations appear to endorse the Government's comprehensive plan to address the housing problem.

"Ending homelessness is a priority for our Government, which is why we are the first government ever to take responsibility for helping the homeless."

The Prime Minister John Key has previously said he would consider the report when it was released.

People drop off donations at Te Puea Marae.

People drop off donations at South Auckland's Te Puea Marae, which opened its doors to homeless people for several months earlier this year. Photo: RNZ/ Tom Furley

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