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Families in cars waiting longer for homes

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/09/2016

Families living in cars are waiting twice as long to be put into social homes than at the start of the year, the Labour Party says.

Statistics from the the Ministry of Social Development released by opposition leader Andrew Little show families in cars looking for homes in the three months to June waited an average of 217 days to be be put into social housing.

That compared to 129 days in the March quarter and 108 in the three months to December.

The statistics also show the number of people registered as living in public places and tents looking for social homes had risen from 31 in September 2015 to 75 by June this year.

Those people were in June waiting on average 157 days for a home, compared to 99 in the December quarter.

"It is disgraceful that the government knows these families are living in cars or tents and is either taking too long to house them or is not housing them at all," Mr Little said.

"(Social Housing Minister) Paula Bennett claimed her policy to relocate state housing tenants outside Auckland would give homeless families a roof over their heads 'within days'. In fact the opposite has happened."

Ms Bennett last week announced the government was adding $24 million in extra funding for Auckland social housing providers, which create grants to cover 50 per cent of the cost of new home builds and would subsidise rents afterwards.

But Green Party social housing spokesperson Marama Davidson said many providers, such as the Salvation Army, weren't able to come up with the 50 per cent required.

"The government's strategy to shift the responsibility of housing our poorest families onto the private sector is clearly failing, when the providers they are relying on to build homes can't afford to do it," she said.

Comment has been requested from the Ministry of Social Development.

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