Government gives $125,000 to Te Puea Marae

The money will fund five cabins, as well as support services and rental subsidies.
The money will fund five cabins, as well as support services and rental subsidies. Photo credit: File

The Government is partnering with Te Puea Memorial Marae in Mangere to help it support families in need of housing.

A fund of $125,000 will go towards providing five cabins on site, including support services and rental subsidies.

Prime Minister Bill English says the partnership with Te Puea is because some people prefer to go through the marae rather than the Ministry of Social Development to find support.

He says housing affordability in Auckland is improving slightly, but for those most in need they have to wait for a boost to the family incomes package in April next year.

"We're not through the thick of winter yet. The needs are being catered for significantly better this year than last year, but there could well still be plenty of need out there. That's yet to turn up.

"I think we've spent $130 million in the last 12 months on gearing up for not just this winter but every winter coming."

The partnership comes a year after news of families sleeping in cars hit the headlines, many of whom were able to find support at Te Puea Marae.

In an interview with The Nation last month, Te Puea Marae chair Hurimoana Dennis said the homelessness problem was worse than a year ago, and the marae might have to open its doors again this winter. It was reluctant to have its volunteers provide support when there were social agencies out there who were getting paid to do that work and not doing it well. 

Mr English did not think it was a failure on behalf of the Government that there was still a problem with homelessness, a year on from last winter.

"No I wouldn't say it's a failure at all. The size of the response this year is unprecedented, there's never been emergency or transitional housing at anything like the scale or organisation that we currently have".

"We're not complacent about it, there may well be more needs than can be met, there may well be new or different needs. Alongside all the transitional places there's all the money that's been going into funding motel places for people and that's been pretty extensively used."