The Government has announced further funding for emergency housing in Auckland of $2 million over the next two years. The aim is to fund up to 120 extra short-term emergency housing places run by non-government housing organisations based on a model of emergency housing already being used in Christchurch. This funding comes in addition to the $500,000 Auckland Council has allocated for the next two years to help address the barriers to increasing emergency housing provision in the city.
The Ministry of Social Development is asking for proposals from housing providers to utilise this funding with the Request for Proposals (RFP) closing on 16th November 2015.
Response to the announcement was mixed. LifeWise welcomed the additional funding as a partial response but urged the Government to address the root causes of homelessness. General Manger Moira Lawler said that:
“New Zealand desperately needs to wake up and address the cold hard facts. Access to safe and secure housing is not a luxury – it is a human right. If we don’t act now, more and more people will be pushed to the margins, a cost we will all have to bear.”
Dame Diane Robertson, Chair of the James Liston Hostel, welcomed the government’s acknowledgement that there is an issue, but she along with others questioned why the funding was only for new services and not also for expanding the work of those currently doing the job.
Emergency housing providers in other parts of the country also questioned why the funding is only going to Auckland when other place such as Northland have desperate housing problems and a shortage of emergency housing.
The MSD emergency housing funding review was due to be reporting to Cabinet in September (read the to that review) and we hope that this is the first of more announcements to come about improvements to emergency housing provision arising from this review.