Homeless should be Parliament focus - Ardern

Labour is calling for cross party support to work towards ending homelessness by 2020.

"The Government can’t continue sweep the issue of homelessness under the carpet," Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern said.

"Tonight - the evening before World Homeless Day - it is estimated one in 20 New Zealanders will be sleeping in temporary accommodation, on a relative or friend’s couch or lounge floor, in a garage or car, or in some other ‘unfit’ accommodation. A quarter will be children.

"Agencies around the country are reporting increasing numbers of people seeking help, with client numbers doubling in some areas in just five years.

"These people are not the stereotypical transient. The new homeless are young and many are women and children.

"Housing Minister Nick Smith doesn’t see any of this as being his problem and continues to ignore the Government’s own official definition of homeless.

"Fortunately there are others, such as New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness, who think otherwise, and Labour is committed to working with them across Parliament to achieve the goal of housing every Kiwi by 2020," Jacinda Ardern said.

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said it wasn’t good enough that people were being forced to doss down in caravan parks or in cars because they can’t afford or are unable to access rental housing.

"Nick Smith might believe homelessness is a manufactured crisis, but if just one young Kiwi has an address that reads ‘no fixed abode’ then something is wrong.

"There are thousands of vacant state houses that could be homes if the Government could only sort out its priorities.

"Labour has a plan to address our housing crisis, including introducing a capital gains tax, and building affordable homes through our KiwiBuild initiative," said Phil Twyford.

"Add to that our plans to work across parliament to end homelessness in New Zealand, and we have an opportunity to turn this crisis around," Jacinda Ardern said.

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