​Northlanders living in cars as housing crisis hits hard

Mar 9, 2018 | News

One Double Five Community House co-ordinator Carol Peters said Northlanders were living on streets, in emergency houses, in overcrowded houses and even in cowsheds.

Peters said building cheaper houses was a way to alleviate the problem but that required partnership between the Government, local councils and community housing providers.

Her comments come as a Ministry of Social Development report revealed it is regularly paying more than $1 million each week to Northlanders for accommodation supplements (AS) and temporary additional support (TAS).

In the week ending September 30, the payments were $800,593 (AS for 15,193 people) and $242,679 (TAS for 3850 people).

In the last week of 2017, this had risen to $819,312 (AS for 15,559) and $215,360 (TAS for 3974) – a total of $1,070,672.

An additional $201,703 was paid out for emergency housing special needs grants over October, November and December last year.

The report also noted $201,703 was paid in the last quarter of 2017 to help 81 families to stay in short-term accommodation such as motels.

Peters said the demand for public housing in Northland was reaching crisis levels that had also been seen in Auckland.

An additional 147 houses the ministry has targeted to buy or build in the next two years— there are currently 2040 – would not meet the demand, she said.

By 2020, the ministry hopes to have 1369 public houses in Whangarei, 704 in the Far North and 114 in Kaipara.

“Everyone is talking about the housing crisis in Auckland but in fact Whangarei is also in a difficult situation because of difficulty in getting into rental accommodation – and there’s population growth as well,” Peters said.

“Those unable to get houses are not just people on a benefit but the working class as well. People are living on streets, in emergency houses, in overcrowded houses and even in cowsheds and it’s getting worse,” Peters said.

She said only a fraction of a large number of people that applied for emergency housing were able to secure a home.

Building cheaper houses, she said, was part of the solution but the Government, local councils and community housing providers had to work together.

Adrian Whale, chairman of Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing Trust, said his office received 182 inquiries from families seeking temporary housing in the second half of last year.
But only 45 families could be accommodated.

He agreed with Peters that more affordable houses needed to be built.

At the end of last week there were 23 families and individuals staying in motels throughout Northland.

A homeless and unemployed man in Whangarei who has been sleeping with family, friends and in cars for the past two years said: “I live day to day and would really prefer rental accommodation but there’s none available.

“I feel for families because they need shelter more than I do,” he said.

At the end of last year, 191 people were on the public housing waiting list in Northland while 45 who were already housed were eligible for a transfer to another property.

The ministry said 129 places were available in transitional houses in Northland at the end of 2017 that were managed by contracted providers such as Ngati Hine Health Trust, He Korowai Trust, Salvation Army, Women’s Refuge, and Emerge Aotearoa.

Recent articles

Annual Report

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

Strategic Plan

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

Featured Network

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Our Place

Our Place 2017

Our Place 2017

Case Studies

Media Releases

The Shift Aotearoa conference 2021 issues papers released

Community Housing Aotearoa’s three pre-conference work programmes are kicking off next week with initial zoom meetings in the Narrative Transformation and Housing System Settings streams scheduled for Tuesday 26 January at 10AM and 1PM respectively. Issues papers to...


Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) COVID-19 Update 26 August 2021

Message from CHA's Chief Executive, Productivity Commission Submission - Include Housing in the Terms of Reference, CHA's support for members, sharing ideas and issues, Ministry of Health information and advice, Government support for your organisation, important...


Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 12 October 2021

Message from Chief Executive, Fortnightly Sector Zoom Calls, Tenancy Management Community of Practice, Ngāti Toa Secures A Deal To Ensure High Quality, Healthy And Affordable Homes At Kenepuru Landing, More Progressive Home Ownership Opportunities for First Home...




Te Whakaruruhau Report

The Te Whakaruruhau Report establishes the peak body services to the Homelessness Sector by Te Matapihi he Tirohanga mō te IwiTrust and Community Housing Aotearoa. The report can be found here: Te Whakaruruhau September 2020


BRANZ research report on ‘exceeding the minimum’ released

This report looks at the question: why don’t landlords choose features that exceed the minimum building standards and what are the enablers to changing this? The aim is to identify the barriers to an improved rental stock and potential solutions to overcome the...

Community Housing Aotearoa

Contact Us

Contact Info

Level 11, Ranchhod Tower,
39 The Terrace /
102-112 Lambton Quay
PO Box 11543
Wellington 6142

+04 385 8722


Follow On