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Govt finds $9m to help homeless

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/07/2016

The government has announced a $9 million package aimed at getting the homeless into accommodation.

The money, over two years, will allow community groups to work with about 2000 individuals and families and keep them housed, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

"The evidence is clear that simply finding a bed for the homeless isn't enough," she said on Friday.

The money would help the groups tackle the causes of homelessness, from employment, through to health factors like addiction and mental health issues.

The Salvation Army says the money is welcome and the programme design has worked overseas.

"This is a win-win for everyone," said the army's Major Pam Waugh.

"Housing New Zealand will benefit by not having the cost of eviction and re-tenanting properties, families benefit by not being evicted and learning new skills in retaining tenancies, and the community benefits by increased stability."

However, the Labour Party says the two years' funding will only relieve some immediate issues for families.

"Without a plan to build more affordable and state houses, it's another ambulance at the bottom of the cliff proposal," said leader Andrew Little.

"It isn't even new money. It has been reallocated from funds the government didn't spend last year on income-related rent subsidies," he said.

"It is patently obvious that National has no plan to build the houses that Auckland is crying out for."

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