The Motueka region is in desperate need of sustainable housing solutions. We have many folks in need of safe, dry and warm accommodation for their family.
In my years working in the community I have witnessed many types of problematic housing situations, each with its own set of problems.
Without shelter. For example, living on the streets, inhabiting improvised dwellings, in batches, shacks, cars, under bridges and under the verandas of business, and buildings around our community.
Temporary accommodation. Motueka has overnight shelter requirements. No night shelter puts more pressure on the police cells, and women’s refuge which don’t have accommodation in Motueka, meaning transporting them to nelson (what was known as the night shelter is now a transitional house). We have solo mums on couch’s sharing with their kids.
I am a trustee of the short-term accommodation trust. We have built a second dwelling on that section. These two houses are under a MSD contract with The Salvation Army, however they struggle to transitional people as there are no houses to transition too.
Sharing accommodation. Overcrowding is common when accommodation needs to be shared, placing tenancy agreements at risk. There are elderly people who have a tenancy which now accommodates their entire family as well. Often, it’s the original tenant ending up on the couch. Or out in the lean-to.
Uninhabitable housing. There are dilapidated dwellings, not fit for service in our area. Tenants put up with this as there are no other options available for them. I spoke to a mother recently who went for 2 weeks with no water pump. They accessed water from extended whanau and lived by filling 20 litre containers. They have 7 kids! Imagine transporting that water from point a to point b, let alone tipping it over yourself for a shower!
Unaffordable accommodation. Some of us in the community were led to believe that new housing being built would be affordable. $650,000 is not affordable. I’ve worked with many who suffer from psychosocial harm caused by the stress of not having a sense of belonging, or knowing they have a secure place to lay their heads. Poverty and unemployment, mental health issues, medical concerns along with addictions are all factors that are heightened through lack of affordable, secure accommodation.
The implications of this, unless addressed, will have a flow-on effect to our local services: Police, Courts, Work and income, and Probation services. There will be diminished employment opportunities. The cost of not providing proper social housing is catastrophic for our entire community!
As Norman Kirk, former Prime Minister stated, “Every New Zealander should have a home, someone to love, prospects for employment, and hope for the future.” However, this is not a reality for far too many people in our community.
We, the people, have to work together to get suitable housing for our community – it is a local and national responsibility.
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