The Green Party is calling on the Government to uphold its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child* and increase the supply of state homes in Auckland, to help house the growing number of homeless families in the city.
The call comes after the release of a Salvation Army report which revealed that 47 per cent (568) of people who sought help from the Army and Catholic community services were children, some of whom were living in cars, garages, camping grounds and emergency housing.
“I’m extremely concerned to hear that there’s a growing number of children who are being forced to sleep rough in Auckland, but, sadly, I’m not surprised,” said Green Party social housing spokesperson Marama Davidson.
“There are hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who have been left out of National’s ‘rock star’ economy, and rising homelessness is just one result of that.
“Incomes for our lowest earners aren’t rising while unemployment is, housing is very expensive and difficult to get in to, and just putting food on the table is getting harder and harder.
“If parents and caregivers are struggling to make a decent living and can’t afford to rent or buy in Auckland, then it’s no wonder that children are being forced to sleep in cars or on the streets.
“There are more than 2,000 people on the waiting list for social housing in Auckland alone and these are just the people who have registered for help. There’s bound to be thousands more who have no contact at all with state services and are out there living on the streets, without the help and resources they desperately need.
“The Government could use its access to low-cost finance to fund the building of more state homes and more affordable homes – that’s the only way we’re going to get our people off the streets and into housing.
“There’s a housing crisis happening in Auckland right now, and rising homelessness is its most serious symptom,” said Ms Davidson.
*Article 27 states that: States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. And that: States Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.