The government has announced that its 2019 Budget will invest in housing, which will benefit more than 1,044 homeless people.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said the government is investing $197 million in total to strengthen the Housing First programme, saying that this is the largest investment in addressing chronic homelessness. The extra funding will help long-term homeless people get into permanent, warm and safe home, and support services to help address the causes of homelessness.
“Housing is a basic human right and allows people to live with dignity,” Ardern said. “We are committed to tackling homelessness. That’s why we have made it an investment priority for the second year in a row by boosting support for the internationally-acclaimed programme Housing First even further.
“This will raise the number of people the programme can help to 2,700,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Twyford said Housing First has housed 720 households, including 431 children in Auckland alone, since 2017. Now, it looks to tackle long-term homelessness in Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Tauranga, Rotorua, and will launch in Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson/Blenheim and Wellington later this year.
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“Homelessness is the sharp end of the housing crisis,” Twyford said. “Our government wants to stop people falling through the cracks and becoming homeless in the first place. That’s why we have made 979 more transitional housing places available since coming to office and are well on track to provide 6,400 more public housing places over four years funded in last year’s Budget.
“While we’re making good progress, the housing crisis was created over a decade and isn’t going to be fixed overnight. We still have work to do,” the minister added.