Government to spend $100 million on housing homeless during pandemic

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 26 Apr 2020, 4:01PM
A homeless person on Queen St, Auckland, before the Covid-19 level 4 lockdown was enforced. Photo / Brett Phibbs
A homeless person on Queen St, Auckland, before the Covid-19 level 4 lockdown was enforced. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Government to spend $100 million on housing homeless during pandemic

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 26 Apr 2020, 4:01PM

The Government will spend more than $100 million on housing the homeless in motels until it can put them up in more long-term housing.

Since the country has gone into lockdown, the Government has footed the bill for more than 1100 additional motel units for the homeless.

The new funding means an extra 500 motel units will be funded, taking the total to 1600.

Housing Minister Megan Woods said the $107.6 million funding package, announced this morning, would support vulnerable New Zealanders through the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

That money is coming from the yet-to-be announced Covid-19 action plan, which will be unveiled in May's Budget.

Woods said those living rough, or in accommodation where social distancing was not possible, were especially vulnerable to the virus.

"Finding safe accommodation for our most vulnerable people through the Covid-19 pandemic has been a key priority for the Government."

Since the alert levels were put in place, more than 1100 additional motel units had been secured for people living rough and homeless by Government agencies, community housing, iwi and Māori providers, Woods said.

Of this weekend, 876 units had vulnerable individuals and whānau living in them who were being supported by social services.

More than $30 million of the new funding will be put towards a wraparound service to support those people's needs.

Woods said many of the people living in the motels had high and complex needs and it was crucial they got support.

The motels act as a place holder while the Government secures more long-term housing supply.

Woods said the Homelessness Action Plan, announced last February, would help create more permanent housing for the homeless and vulnerable.

Today's $100 million funding, providing for 1600 motel units, is on top of that action plan.

"As the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the Government's build programme and work with the construction sector will resume to bring on more housing at pace," Woods said.

• Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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