For 19 people in West Auckland, home is living and sleeping on the streets of Waitakere. Their story and the circumstances of their life is captured in the latest report of The Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, 'Hard Times'. The report details an uncomfortable story of people whose only option is to live an unhealthy, dangerous and damaging street life
These rough sleepers form a community which provides for these homeless individuals friendship, support and camaraderie. All of those living on the street have the desire and hope to change their situation and move into accommodation. The reality in the 'hot Auckland rental housing market' is less optimistic. Their chances of accessing suitable and affordable housing are very slim.
The social housing needed by these people is not currently available in sufficient quantity. More social housing is required in the West. Government actions presently are not delivering sufficient affordable homes, says Major Sue Hay, Director of The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.
The Government must recognise shelter as a basic human right and accept a statutory obligation to provide adequate affordable housing for all New Zealanders. At present West Auckland has the second highest number of people on the Ministry of Social Development waiting list for social housing. The need to provide more housing for the aged and single people was of particular concern to those rough sleepers interviewed. The voice of people living on the street needs to be heard by policy makers and planners, says report author Reina Harris.