The Salvation Army State of the Nation report calling for benefit level increases and public housing confirms what frontline advocates, unions, Government groups, and faith groups have been saying for years. Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Government to stop ignoring community groups who work with low-income communities and substantially increase benefit levels this budget.
“We’ve had report after report over the past years highlighting that benefit levels are too low and that we are not building the right types of homes to house low-income communities. The Government is ignoring the mandate given by a broad base of community groups to ramp-up the build of state housing and increase benefit levels. Benefit levels need to at least be doubled if we are to see income inadequacy addressed”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.
“Beneficiaries and low-waged workers in private rentals are spending up to 60% of their income on rent, while their incomes remain relatively stagnant. The Salvation Army report confirms that this Government has put too much on an emphasis on building homes for wealthy property investors, while continuing the underfunding of the public housing sector. The Government committed to building 6,400 state homes in four years when it came to Government, but we have over 14,000 households in urgent need of public housing now.
“If the Government can find resources to fund road infrastructure projects it can certainly invest in our low-income communities. It should not have to take several terms for us to see the necessary action on welfare reform, it takes political courage from politicians in power.
“The 2020 budget is an opportunity for the Government to show commitment to ending poverty in Aotearoa by investing in our welfare and public housing system. If we do not see drastic changes in this area this Government would have failed our most vulnerable. We do not need another report for the Prime Minister to know that benefit levels are too low and that her Government is not building enough state homes.”