GUEST BLOG: Kim Isaac – the reality for single mums & dads

By   /   October 3, 2017  /   5 Comments

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The income breakdown you are looking at is of a single mum with one child living in South Auckland. The landlord notified a rise in the rent to “Market” rate of $550 per week for a basic, and run down home.

Nga mihi whanui ki a koutou ma. I almost watched homelessness occur care of our government departments today and my heart is so heavy and traumatised someone with bigger shoulders then I needs to know what to do about this at central policy and practise drivers level. For all that has been said about eliminating poverty and homelessness no changes that can be made quite swiftly have been made to prevent the problem increasing for right now. Read and watch how every system contributed.

The income breakdown you are looking at is of a single mum with one child living in South Auckland. The landlord notified a rise in the rent to “Market” rate of $550 per week for a basic, and run down home.

Refer back to the picture. There’s not enough money even with the $92 per week she’s entitled to in family tax credits to pay the rent.

She’s done her utmost to secure extra work and find another home. When there’s 33 families applying for the same house you don’t stand much of a chance when you’re up against others with far more income and job titles. Same with work but she’s working on her own solutions.

She has been to mediation because the sudden rise in the rent is worthy of debate. That didn’t find in her favour. She made application to the ministry of justice to reduce the court orders you see attached to benefit for payment. They were comfortable she was paying the right amount.

After weeks asking for an appointment or call back from WINZ the appointment happened today. I went in and sat down as she told the case manager that in the time it’s taken to get in to the office the rent has slipped further behind at the new rate and the landlord is taking her to court to evict her this Thursday unless the arrears are met and the current rental amount is guaranteed to be paid.

The case manager is not a bad person, but when she does the numbers she says quietly “you don’t have enough money to pay the rent. Paying the arrears would mean we are only delaying the inevitable so we can’t help you.” And then I waited. For something. You know. Next steps – available housing, a special grant until they can get her in a state home to keep her and her baby safe. The silence was deafening and I gulped “I’m sorry if there’s no assistance to grant this lady then what do you propose the next steps are?” She shrugged and I saw her eyes water as well and said “Well when she is evicted we can help with emergency accommodation grants.” I said “No homelessness is not the answer. It can’t be. The time to save this family is now.” I negotiated the arrears and the manager approved the payment, as I helped her string together a way to pay the rent for now with her family chipping in. I haven’t won it for her yet because it largely depends on landlord and court and the strength of their commitment to fair and just outcomes.

But imagine this. With a shrug of the shoulders from our government departments our families are homeless.

I’m traumatised by that moment. I almost witnessed the end of all hope for this young woman and her baby and there was just nothing there to stop her falling off the cliff. We need the commits made to end poverty to be realised with practical solutions that can be adopted by our government departments now. WINZ have awesome discretionary powers, encourage them to apply it to pay the rent. A situation like this, come on Justice – she’s not comfortable albeit you are. WINZ – cover the rent until a solution is found. There’s no housing alternatives – hotels equals they lose self worth, all their property and possessions in eviction process as well. It’s cheaper to pay the extra rent then house families in hotels. And as for the landlord hmmmm …. #ChangeMustCome #WeNeedSolutions#WhatAreThey?

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  1. Siobhan says:

    The rent is too damned high.

    Why are we so committed to subsidizing a failed business model?.

    This whole situation is the modern equivalent of the old farmer subsidies.

    If Labour could bring in a Revolution for the Economy in 1984, then they could do the Right thing and bring in a Revolution for the People in 2017.

    Labour need a good dose of truth and reconciliation.

  2. LOSTRELIC says:

    That’s horrific for anyone to go through. The succession of brutality against the poor in New Zealand is atrocious. The system is so mercilessly weighted against those in hardship that once you fall down, you never get up again. And that’s how they want it: survival of the “fittest”. The only way this changes is a change in culture and a willingness to stand up to our rulers.

  3. WILD KATIPO says:

    Im sorry , but , this paragraph….

    … ‘ She shrugged and I saw her eyes water as well and said “Well when she is evicted we can help with emergency accommodation grants ”…

    That’s just the thing,… you can be a smiling assassin like John Key and merrily inform some poor bastard he’s just there to tell you your life is now fucked, … or you can do it with tears,… and then go home and wonder what you will put on for dinner…

    Not all are like that , … but hey ,… consider the Teachers voting on strike action in Rotorua today if there isn’t swift action to increase their wages,… to which I and 62% of others ( according to an unscientific poll on Stuff said ) support.

    My point is this :

    What are they working there for ?

    Just marking time? , just waiting on that next weeks pay cheque?

    Or are they really there to make a difference?

    And if so ,… where the fucking hell is the strike action in protest from all these ‘ caring’ ‘ welfare’ workers against their senior managements policy’s ?!!?

    I’m sorry but the situation described above is obscene.

    Oh yes, I’m sure there are a majority of decent people working at WINZ ,… but FFS come on !!!

    I know how WINZ likes to operate. And if it wasn’t for my security background and training I would have been coaxed into fraud. Until I went home and saw an angle. Went back the next day and had a quiet little word with the portly red headed ‘supervisor’ who was enjoying the power trip and stated ” I want the departmental manager, please’…

    And after the usual obnoxious display of belligerence that I had dared challenge her authority and requested to ‘ go over her head’ ,… I got the dept manager. Smiling of course , through clenched teeth and one hell of a cold emotionless veneer,… some would call it ‘ business – like ‘ … me? F@CK !!! … I would call it UTU.

    I was slightly pissed off that day.

    And after a quiet wee conversation , I had them all shitting their pants with a gentle reminder that what they were asking me to do would involve them personally in fraud…. suffice to say,… I got what I needed that day.

    Now then , not all situations are the same, – and , – they seem to have the situation pretty much sown up against Joe and Joe-ess Average. I would say a few at the top are shitting bricks that Labour / Greens / NZ First may get in.

    Poetic justice if they do.

    Their little fiefdoms will be over.

    That ominous saying , …”There’s going to be a few changes around here”, comes to mind…

    Anyhows ,… this bit , – I said “No homelessness is not the answer. It can’t be. The time to save this family is now.”


    Are they bloody wank artists , the whole lot of them ?!!?

    What the fuck is WRONG with them ?!!?

    What the hell is wrong with this government , – more to the point !!!

    Why haven’t they regulated how much landlords can raise rents ?!!?

    Why are tenants do disempowered ?!!?

    Why the f@ck does this govt not give a shit about family’s being homeless?!!? , – with small children to boot ?!!?

    Are they insane?!!? Do they really think a frikken car is a home, FFS ?!!?

    What the bloody hell is their problem ?!!?

    Do they bloody hate their own country men and women ?!!?

    Are they a fucking government AT ALL ?!!?

    Should we be paying the useless pricks for being such a pack of wanky incompetents?!!?

    Where the hell do all our taxes go ?!!?

    Fuck of National , – just fuck the hell of out of our country!!!


    We need a REAL government !!!

    • Sam Sam says:

      Pretty much this^^^. Personally I think WINZ shouldn’t even be a thing. Could run the whole payment system through inland revenue and give supplementary benefits to NGO’s who actually give dam. So instead of taking a WINZ form to the doctor, the doctor already has them, fills them out and sends it to inland revenue, or approved NGO i.e Salvos ect. Fire the lot of them and give me all a UBI and then we will see how dedicated y’all are to the humanities.