Bright ideas are good, but not good enough – Lifewise

By   /   June 21, 2016  /   6 Comments

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…these efforts only seem like solutions because they temporarily fix a visible symptom of homelessness. None of them can make a problem as complex as homelessness go away. Most countries in the Western world have struggled with it since the ’80s; thirty years is too long to not have a solution in sight.

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New Zealanders cannot bear injustice. We sign petitions to change the system, sleep in cars to show solidarity, and generously donate to a worthy cause like the Lifewise Big Sleepout.

In the last few weeks, a Marae opened its doors to homeless people, a community housing trust in Auckland received $800K to fund more emergency housing, homes were donated to homeless families.

Why then does homelessness not go away?

It’s because all our good deeds and intentions mean little in isolation. Petitions and protests draw attention to the issue. Donations and in-kind support help to provide food and urgent services. And having a roof above one’s head means shelter from the cold wintry rain.

All these efforts only seem like solutions because they temporarily fix a visible symptom of homelessness. None of them can make a problem as complex as homelessness go away. Most countries in the Western world have struggled with it since the ’80s; thirty years is too long to not have a solution in sight.

For too long, too many disadvantaged New Zealanders have been caught in the crossfire of Party Politics. What we need is a cross-Party, evidence-based agreement; a policy that every Party agrees on regardless of its affiliation. This isn’t about whether there should be more emergency shelters or fewer barriers to having a home. It’s about making sure that a path to an independent and fulfilling life is available to all, with some safety nets along the way if needed.

Petitions, protests, and donations are quick ideas we cannot do without but we also need long-term solutions. We need to agree that we all want the same thing – to end homelessness – and we all need to agree to work together to make that happen.

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About the author

Lifewise

Lifewise is an innovative social agency in Auckland that is committed to finding ways to solve social issues. Rather than focussing on meeting people’s immediate needs, Lifewise gives people the support they need to turn their lives around – for good. We are most well-known for the Lifewise Big Sleepout – when business, community and political leaders spend a night on the streets to help us end homelessness.

6 Comments

  1. save nz says:

    Great campaign slogan – I saw it on a bus the other day.

    What is sad is that NZ used to have such low levels of homelessness. Now this government has increased homelessness when we had a chance to have eradicated it completely. We have a small population – everyone should have a home to live in!

    Yep there needs to be long term solution. The government seems to have plenty of resources for TPP which nobody wants including US politicians who want to be elected, but no long term interest in domestic problems which our taxes are meant to be spent on.

  2. kappanz says:

    Remember to promote voting as part of your work.

  3. m.gray says:

    Home is where the heart is but our Govt doesn’t have a heart

  4. Draco T Bastard says:

    All these efforts only seem like solutions because they temporarily fix a visible symptom of homelessness capitalism.

    FTFY

    The system we have generates poverty in the midst of plenty – exactly as it’s designed to do.

    It’s about making sure that a path to an independent and fulfilling life is available to all, with some safety nets along the way if needed.

    That will keep the same failed system in place.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Fantastic FOLKS YOU ARE TRUE PATRIOTS OF OUR SOCIETY.

      We are living in a National Party dream where they keep brainwashing us all with our own publically funded media, while prevent us from giving these views of our human tragedy unfolding before our eyes.

      Please keep up your campaign and try and present a feature on our only truly free balanced TV media public affairs show WAATEA 5th Estate show with Willie and Martyn.

  5. Andrea says:

    Underneath that fairly transparent monolith called ‘Parliament’ you have the arcane world of the local and regional government apparatus and apparatchiks.

    They have the power to delay, obfuscate and generally condemn to a Kafkaesque purgatory any half-way decent notion. They look after the aspirational, the wannabe middle class, the SMEs, not the renters or mundane rate payers.

    Disbelief? Look at Auckland’s ‘governance’. Those semi-tropicals have been wrecking development and coherence since Dove-Myer Robinson. (Why do you think we’re still trying to get them a half-way decent rail system?)

    Any city council worth its morning tea biscuits can waffle and gag on any piece of ‘Wellington legislation’ until the poor thing is nothing but a dim memory.

    Go for the local and regional councils and councillors and the well-cushioned bureaucrats. National pollies usually have a MUCH shorter life span (unless you’re Lindsay Tisch).


 
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