Bennett disputes five month wait for HNZ house

Bennett disputes five month wait for HNZ house

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett is challenging Ministry of Social Development (MSD) data which shows the average time it takes them to house the homeless.

According to MSD figures the average length is around 155 days. But when quizzed on this, Ms Bennett said the numbers weren't accurate and it was the fault of the ministry.

Bennett disputes five month wait for HNZ house


"That's not actually correct. As I've dug deeper into that, what we're discovering is that it also counts a whole lot of people who've been inactive, so for whatever reason they've had a change of circumstances, we've been unable to get hold of them.

"As a consequence they're still on the list, but not actively looking for a house."

She says even if people aren't actively looking for a house, their application isn't cancelled.

"We keep counting those days, they might go off and come back on and so that accumulation is a lot longer than what I think it is," Ms Bennett says.

"I don't think it's the individual's fault, I blame the department because they should be counting more accurately and have this information available."  

Labour's social development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says the minister is making excuses.

"The minister's seven days that she says is the average in terms of a person being homeless is completely out of sync with what we're seeing on a daily basis and completely out of sync with her own numbers.

"I think it shows the Government is completely overwhelmed by the housing crisis and yet they're still deny we're facing a housing crisis." 

Homeless figures also show that around 124 of those waiting for a home have at least one child.

Bennett disputes five month wait for HNZ house


For those who are homeless and looking for a place to live, Prime Minister John Key's advice is still for them to see Work and Income.

The focus on homelessness also raising questions about the effective use of state housing.

Figures given to Newshub also show there are 2320 three-bedroom houses are currently occupied by a single person. That means over 4640 bedrooms are empty.