Vulnerable driven to caravan parks

  • 19/09/2013

An increasing number of people are being told by government agencies to live in caravan parks because of a lack of affordable housing.

In many cases they're the vulnerable, including former prison inmates and mental health patients.

The accommodation at the Western Village Park in Ranui is a mix of tiny one-bedroom units and decrepit caravans, and is home to 300 semi-permanent residents.

"We have families that have been thrown out of state houses, we have transient people, we have mental health people," says owner Darryl Heaven.

The problem is due in part to the squeeze on housing in Auckland.

Tenant Dion Tatana has been paying $265 a week to stay in a caravan with his 13-year-old son.

"We are in a little trailer home," he says. "It's got two beds, a sink and that's about basically it. No toilet or nothing; no stove or nothing."

Housing New Zealand says there are currently 5,017 people on the waiting list for a state home. It says the demand in Auckland is higher than other areas so in some cases people are referred elsewhere, including motels, night shelters, camping grounds and hostels.

Otago University researcher Dr Christina Severinsen has been visiting camping grounds as part of a two-year research project into the country's housing crisis.

"In some of the camping grounds that I went to there were older men say in their 80s living in caravans," she says. "The toilet's 50 metres away, they are getting up several times in the night.

"In many parts of the country there needs to be more investment in social housing and in emergency accommodation as well."

Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyord says the situation is dire.

"This is irrefutable evidence that the Government's housing policy is in tatters," he says.

Social Development Minister Paul Bennett disagrees.

"I don't think so," she says. "As I say we have some challenges. They are being addressed. You can see it in new developments and in new houses being built."

But despite the talk of progress, it's clear when visiting places like this that for many, there are few options.

3 News

 

source: newshub archive


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