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Homelessness is a growing problem in New Zealand and it’s time the Government took action to tackle it nationally, says John McCarthy, general manager of the community and social services agency LIFEWISE.
John McCarthy says LIFEWISE, an Auckland-based agency working with homeless people, urges the Government to come up with a national strategy to prevent more New Zealanders being forced into homelessness.
LIFEWISE backs the call by the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness for a government-led inquiry and action plan on homelessness.
“Like other social service providers throughout New Zealand, LIFEWISE is finding more people are seeking help. Sadly, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of young homeless coming in. These people – the under-25s – need quick intervention so they don’t get into the pattern of living rough on the streets. We have limited resources to help this new generation of homeless.
“LIFEWISE is having great success in housing people long-term but as more people come to us for help, our team is under pressure to help them find homes.”
Mr McCarthy says recent media reports show homelessness is a growing problem, affecting cities and towns all over New Zealand. This is likely to increase with the rise in GST and living expenses.
“Housing may become unaffordable for people who are now vulnerably housed. For some, the only option may be to return to homelessness.
“The New Zealand Government has ignored requests for a national inquiry into homelessness and there is minimal government funding available. Yet in Australia, the Government has pledged to halve the number of homeless people by 2020 and is working closely with agencies nationwide.”
LIFEWISE is a member of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness: http://nzceh.wikispaces.com/
For details about LIFEWISE, see www.lifewise.org.nz