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Government counters homeless report

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/10/2016

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said the government was acutely aware of the New Zealanders who needed more support, from emergency accommodation through to permanent housing. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said the government was acutely aware of the New Zealanders who needed more support, from emergency accommodation through to permanent housing. The issue of housing will get a thorough airing on Monday with the release of the final report of the Cross-Party Inquiry into Homelessness.

It's been timed to coincide with World Homelessness Day on Monday.

The inquiry was launched by the Labour, Green and Maori Parties after National MPs turned down requests for a parliamentary select committee inquiry.

The parties held their own. It opened on July 20 and received written submissions and held five hearings across the country.

Many people who are homeless, those who were once homeless, those working with the homeless made submissions.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said the government was acutely aware of the New Zealanders who needed more support, from emergency accommodation through to permanent housing.

"It is not right that people live on the street, in cars, garages and overcrowded homes," she said in a statement on Sunday.

In the past three months alone the government has:

* finalised contracts for more than 3000 emergency places a year

* announced the redevelopment of 300 existing Housing New Zealand properties into about 1200 new homes in Northcote, Auckland

* Announced the development of education land in Otahuhu, Auckland, for 51 homes for families on the social housing register

* Announced plans for modular housing on three Auckland sites

* Granted hundreds of special needs grants for people who need emergency accommodation.

* Housed an average of close to 160 people a week.

* Given financial assistance to dozens of people who wanted to move out of Auckland but couldn't afford to.

But organisers of the World Homeless Day event in Auckland on Monday said it would be the largest to date and was moved to Aotea Square because of increased awareness of the issue.

Live performances, information, artwork, food, and music are planned.

"World Homeless Day is a chance for members of the public to engage with homelessness in a different way," says Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly.

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