“Begging is not a lifestyle choice, neither is being homeless. In a perfect world, no one would be poor, be the victim of sexual or domestic abuse or have a mental illness. But we live in the real world and there are vulnerable people in Wellington who need and deserve help,” said Justin Lester.
“As Mayor I will set up a wet house; a residential facility for chronic alcoholics and drug addicts who are homeless. It will be a place where they can eat, sleep and be safe without pressure.
“International research has found that with the support of a wet house, residents actually reduce their alcohol consumption.
“I will take a ‘housing first’ approach which focuses on treating addictions and getting homeless people into sustainable long-term affordable housing. I am committed to finding ways to increase the number of affordable units for rent in the capital.
“As Mayor I will ensure the Wellington City Council partners with community housing providers to develop more affordable social housing. And I’ll work with Government to provide Income Related Rent Subsidies to Council housing tenants.
“I’m lucky, I’ve never had to beg. But I watched my mother struggle to bring up three kids alone and on a benefit. I understand how just one life event – an illness, losing a job or a relationship break-up – can leave someone in a precarious situation.
“As Mayor I will work for a Wellington where everyone is educated, has work and has a safe, warm home to live in.”