Sallies say budget must include extensive state home build

By Mānia Clarke

The Salvation Army says tomorrow's budget needs to include more state houses being built urgently to address homelessness. 

Social policy analyst Alan Johnson says the government's announcement of 1,500 additional transitional, public and Housing First places by the end of winter won't be enough.

Johnson says the housing situation is dire and more state houses are needed.

“As we know there are some people living in garages and in sheds, and in the back of cars and some even under bridges, and in shop doorways.  We need to address that need as a matter of urgency,” he says.

There are over 9,500 households on the list waiting for public housing.  Housing New Zealand is currently building 1668 state homes around the country.

“We haven't been building enough houses to cater for the population growth that we've seen, and we haven't been building houses of the right sort to cater for the whānau who don't have a lot of money”.

While he welcomes the government's announcement of $37mil to increase the transitional housing supply this winter, it still falls short.

“The real problem is right now is there's a logjam into this transitional housing which will only be cleared if we build more houses”.

“For the next three years of their term and beyond that they are going to build thousands of houses each year.  We think at least 2,000 a year are needed just to stop things getting worse”.

Johnson says the level of commitment to addressing the housing shortage will be seen with the budget announcement tomorrow.