Ending homelessness in the Hutt
May 20, 2019
A hundred households could soon feel the benefits of a $1.5 million plan to help end growing homelessness in Lower Hutt.
The Hutt City Council voted unanimously in favour of a new homeless strategy and action plan on March 26.The plan included working with landlords to find private rental accommodation for the homeless to improve housing supply and affordability.
Homelessness and housing hardship have increased over the past two years according to the Ministry of Social Development.
Councillor Michael Lulich said steeper rents were a factor in the increase in homelessness. “The issue is the supply of suitable and affordable housing.” The new policy was “exciting”. “It’s important work to be doing, helping people in need.”
He said the homeless were not just on the street but included those who were living with family and friends, in garages or in hostels. “These are working people, business owners, who can find themselves without a home. Often you’re just one paycheck away from being homeless.”
Lulich said the council was using a model used by Palmerston North City Council that focused on preventing homelessness, being proactive and giving housing advice.
Council senior policy advisor John Pritchard said it was looking at establishing a temporary winter shelter for the homeless. “This would be a stop-gap measure over the colder months. We’d also link people to support services.”
The shelter would potentially be set up in Lower Hutt’s cricket pavilion.
The council’s annual budget will be announced on June 5.