Homeless Need To Be Included In Response To COVID-19 – Auckland Action Against Poverty

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Auckland Action Against Poverty is urging the Government to introduce permanent measures to safeguard people from the effects of COVID-19 by ensuring everyone has a safe home to live in.

Our homeless community need to be included in the Government’s response to COVID-19. We support ActionStation’s COVID-19 Emergency Housing Plan petition and urge the Government to introduce all of the asks in full to ensure that we do not put our homeless communities at risk of the deadly COVID-19”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty.

“New Zealand has over 14,000 households who are on the social housing waiting list and lack access to safe homes. People living in overcrowded homes, motels, or rough sleeping are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and unable to self-isolate.

“The Government has all the tools to ensure that everyone has a safe place to live. We already have more than twice the number of empty homes in Auckland as there are families on the housing waiting list. We are urging the Government to acquire ghost homes, build enough public housing and introduce rent-caps to ensure no one is left behind in our response to COVID-19.

People who are in inadequate, overcrowded homes or are living in the streets can’t follow the directives laid out by the Alert Level 4 to COVID-19. If we do not provide access to adequate housing to everyone who needs it, we are dooming thousands of people who do not have the means to self-isolate. We can prevent countless of infections and deaths from within some of our most at-risk groups by providing them with safe homes.

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“None of the asks to Government in the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Plan petition are new. Auckland Action Against Poverty and many frontline groups who work with our homeless communities have been calling for an end to the housing crisis for several years. As we face a pandemic the consequences of inadequate housing are only exacerbated, and more lives are at stake.

“In order to future-proof our society from the worst effects of COVID-19 or any future pandemic we need to guarantee access to safe, adequate homes for all.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Yes homeless need to be suppoorted;

    And also we need to support all the many poor senior citizens too!!!!

    They paid into the pensions funds for years and are now being sidalined – as they have not recieved any money grants to cope during the covid -19 plague sadly.

    • Yes, homeless is a big worry, especially with winter kicking in. Malls where some sleep, could be locked up.
      Other malls and doorways which get littered with often-soiled charity shop dumpings could become health hazards.

      I don’t know how some oldies are managing for staples when our local supermarkets ran out of bread last Thurs or Fri – it is this basic sort of thing which needs addressing; one of my offspring already, alas, working in the front line has offered to help to provision two lots of people, and there’s an old chappie up the street I might infringe quarantine for.

      Rich folk wood smoke curling up this morning messages us that matches are imported, and should perhaps be popped into the next shopping bag.

      Around here, it is another couple of months before ordinary sort of people start using heating, and mostly just to warm up for that first half hour in the morning. Some seniors spend the day sitting reading in the warmth of the library – or just sit there. That’s now gone.

      Two I know of ride around keeping warm on buses – including, possibly – all day Sunday. That’s gone too.

      Spikes in electricity usage may produce power cuts now that so much of the electricity network has been privatised to the wealthy who stay wealthy by not spending on routine maintenance and upkeep, and city council’s like Wellington City Council, have the audacity to expect rate payers to contribute to lines maintenance, when Wellington Electricity, the Wellington lines company, is owned by the richest man in the Hong Kong who is the 23rd richest man in the world, and the coalition govt is kindly helping him stay that way by upping the winter electricity subsidy, and we whose genetic coding carries the cold of the Highland Clearances and the Great Famine of Ireland – and worse- may be one hell of a lot more resilient than the cosseted – but need to vote more cautiously – virus permitting.

      • Why and how did the Government come to the cost increase of the doubling of the Winter Heating bill payment?

        If they’ve doubled it, then that would indicate that they have badly miscalculated what it should have been when they introduced it or, theyre just feeling guilty about the fuck up? Or that they really dont know what theyre doing and how much it really costs to keep the lights, heating and gas on??

        • Denny – It looks as if they’ve doubled it, but it certainly won’t be because of guilt – they’ll be covering their own backsides as usual.

          The public backlash if, and when, increases in ill health emerge, and children, in particular, are hospitalised or die, could be bad for the polls.

          Further, the public health system deliberately underfunded by weirdy Key and that little squeak English, struggles to cope at the best of times. We are now heading into the worst of times.

          It makes sense to enable the housebound to use what electricity they think they can afford – but there could still be big cock-ups for people with smart meters and paying by direct debits. This could exacerbate the stress leading to Mikey biffing Kylie or vice versa.

          The whole issue of the evilly exorbitant prices we now pay for power is a separate issue, and that’s the way shareholders and govt prefer to keep it.

      • The bigger risk is when temporary measures become permanent measures; this happens with wartime system changes.

        MSD now apparently currently replacing face-to-face contact with phone contact, could continue to operate that way – it’s an effective way to dehumanise people, and save big bucks at the same time.

        Chat bots are cheaper, massively time consuming, and either deliberately designed to mentally torture – or perhaps just put together by someone speaking English as a fourth language – and in my experience are neither client friendly nor client respectful.

        • Agree. They should come clean and tell people what the formulae is that they use to calculate peoples entitlement because the full, legal entitlement is never or very rarely given to a claimant. The decisions are arbitrary with no justifiable or valid reason. This has to stop.

  2. I never thought I would say this but hard times need hard action. All unoccupied homes should be taken over for housing of the homeless and families that need a safe refuge from a violent partner.

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