People in emergency housing are entitled to feel safe as are people in the community around emergency housing, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.
“The Government has been incredibly cagey about the levels of crime taking place in and around emergency housing, but I am hearing from people who are afraid and describe being surrounded by crime.
“When the Labour Government is spending upwards of a million dollars a day to house people in dire need of a roof over their head, surely it should be a priority that those people are safe and not exposed to violence, drugs, and other crime.
“I have been calling for the Government to take simple measures like separating out families from single males and checking the criminal records of emergency housing residents to ensure that they are not putting others at risk. They say it is too hard.
“This Government seems to be afraid of hard work. Their failure to make good on their promises is practically expected now, but these are real, vulnerable people and it is just not good enough for the Government to be sitting on their hands.
“Additionally, crime and violence that exists within emergency housing is spilling out into the surrounding communities and that is not fair or okay either. The Government’s housing policy failures and the skyrocketing number of people needing emergency housing are not the fault of these communities.
“The Minister of Police needs to have a chat with the Associate Minister for Housing (Public Housing) and get a plan of action as to how to address the crime levels in emergency housing. This shouldn’t be hard as Minister Poto Williams holds both portfolios.
“It is important community members are told what concrete steps are being taken to reduce crime in emergency housing and authorities do not just provide vague reassurances they are aware of concerns.
“This has dragged on for long enough; further inaction is negligent and irresponsible. I will not be letting this go and will continue to advocate for action until the Minister finally does something about it.”
You can find a copy of the Official Information Act (OIA) request here.
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