Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Reports that social service agencies are dealing with increasing numbers of homeless children and young people show the housing shortage has reached crisis levels, despite the Governments denials, Labours Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.Jacinda
Spokesperson for Children
26 September 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Children growing up in garages a real crisis
Reports that social service agencies are dealing with increasing numbers of homeless children and young people show the housing shortage has reached crisis levels, despite the Government’s denials, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.
“The Downtown Community Ministry in Wellington has seen the number of clients visiting their service double each year since 2008. Lifewise in Auckland have had similar increases and are seeing more children and young people walk through their door.
“Lifewise also says 90 per cent of the youths it deals with are young people leaving Child, Youth and Family (CYF) care at 17 with nowhere to go.
“Young people leaving CYFs care are especially vulnerable because the state has no responsibility for them in law once they hit 17. That is just wrong. I have heard of young people being referred to Women’s Refuge because there is nowhere else for them to go.
“Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills this week raised concerns an alarming number of children had ‘no fixed abode’.
“Homelessness hits the most vulnerable in our society. Children and young people are often the hidden face of homelessness. They are more likely to be sleeping in garages with family, or couch surfing.
“The Government is unable to say how many children and young people are homeless because it is too scared to take stock of just how bad things are. The Housing New Zealand waiting list, which the Government has kicked people off, is hardly a good substitute. Worse still, Housing Minister Nick Smith today told Parliament homelessness was ‘another manufactured crisis’ by the Opposition.
“We need to find housing solutions for the sake of kids and young people. A Labour government will build 100,000 affordable homes and slow the rapid increase in house prices by introducing a capital gains tax and shutting overseas speculators out of the market.
“We’ll also make sure young people who have been in CYFS care aren’t left without a roof over their heads, and have the help and support they deserve and need beyond their 17th birthday,” Jacinda Ardern says.