A petition about the state of rental housing in Kāpiti will be forwarded to the Minister Megan Woods.
Organiser Donna Bridgeman says they are calling on Kāinga Ora to immediately purchase land and construct new permanent rental accommodation in Kāpiti for all groups affected by homelessness including youth, families, disabled people, and older people.
“This includes easier access to Emergency Housing and providing support services for people made homeless including one on one advocacy person’s homeless experience.”
Ms Bridgeman says the 240 houses that Kāinga Ora has across the District are not enough to house long-term homeless people, let alone the growing number of people who are coming onto the list.
“This includes people who formerly rented in the private sector and who have been given notice to leave their homes as landlords have decide to sell their properties.”
She says even if there was an adequate supply of private sector accommodation, the exorbitant rents mean that people simply can’t afford to meet that cost.
“There is strong support for this call for action across the entire Kāpiti population. Young people who can’t afford to leave home; families with children who move in with their parents because they can’t afford the rent demanded; an 85-year-old who has lived in the same unit for 17 years being given notice because the landlord is going to rent to a family member; working single people who can’t afford a one bedroom flat – the scenarios come thick and fast and we hear them all.”
Marchers highlighting the plight of Kāpiti’s homeless recently took their case to Council and were supported by Cr Sophie Handford who walked with them.
The ‘Hikoi on Homelessness’ was organised to raise awareness of the shortage of affordable accommodation in Kāpiti — with large numbers of homeless being put up in motels and other temporary accommodation because they can’t find suitable or affordable rental homes.
Speakers at the rally at the Library pointed out that homelessness is not just a big city problem.
They spoke about living in emergency housing for more than a year; and being moved on at short notice to another motel because their motel was taken over as an MIQ facility.
Others pointed out the difficulties in accommodation which was not designed to cater for people with disabilities, or for family groups.
Councillor Handford joined the marchers from the start, while local MP Terisa Ngobi and Mayor K. Gurunathan met the group at the Library.