MSD should collect data on emergency accommodation

The Government should change the rules around emergency accommodation to require motels to provide data about who they are housing to the Ministry of Social Development, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“It’s unacceptable the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) doesn’t collect enough data around who’s staying in emergency accommodation and what incidences are occurring.

“There are reports of violence, drug deals and recently released prisoners being located next door to young children, but the Government continues to abdicate any responsibility for the safety and welfare of people staying in emergency housing.

“We know a significant number of people being housed in emergency accommodation are vulnerable, data shows 62 per cent of all special needs grants went towards emergency accommodation providers.

“People in emergency accommodation will continue to be exposed to risks if there is no overall strategy about where people are located and what support they are provided.

“MSD should be keeping records so they know who is staying where at any one time.

“Motels must register with and be accepted by MSD as an emergency accommodation supplier before receiving any taxpayer money which gives MSD an opportunity to set expectations around conditions.

“There should be a system in place to inspect motels and deregister them as emergency accommodation providers if they’re not up to standard.

“Emergency housing shouldn’t be causing harm to people who are already experiencing hardship. The welfare system should be about giving people a helping hand up, not kicking them when they’re already down.”