The Government’s failure to build affordable housing, and to ensure rentals are long-term and healthy to live in, has created a ticking time bomb of homelessness as hundreds of thousands of baby boomers arrive at retirement, the Green Party said today.
The Salvation Army today released its report Homeless Baby Boomers showing that upwards of 200,000 baby boomers are set to arrive at retirement age, without the traditional safety net of their own home, creating huge uncertainty in their old age. It describes growing numbers of older people being homeless and sleeping rough.
“The report reveals the grim reality facing hundreds of thousands of Kiwis in their 50s and 60s now, who don’t own a home, and who the National Government has set on course for an insecure retirement,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“All Kiwis, especially older people, need homes that are warm and dry, and, if they are renting, secure tenure that means they can establish roots in their community.
“But those people without home ownership face being turfed out of multiple rentals throughout their retirement, no guarantee that the homes they rent will keep them warm, dry and safe, and the real prospect of ending up homeless.
“National’s hands-off approach has ensured that there are not enough affordable homes being built, and landlords can charge what they like for homes that in many cases are barely fit to live in.
“Report after report has described how the private sector is not delivering the affordable homes that Kiwis need, and called on the Government to step up and build thousands of quality affordable homes. But the calls are falling on blocked ears.
“The Government should support my Bill for a warrant of fitness for rental homes so that the majority of newer households who are renting get a good quality home for their money, and security of tenure that gives them a chance to put down roots in their community,” Mrs Turei said.
“Renting is a reality for more than a million Kiwis now, and we need new, modern laws that recognise that renters aren’t second-class citizens,” Mrs Turei said.