March 28, 2021
Community action shows way on homelessness
A Māori housing advocate says a Waitangi Tribunal hearing on housing claims showed grassroots Māori organisations are ahead of crown agencies in addressing homelessness.
The tribunal was at Te Puea Marae in Mangere last week hearing from iwi and Māori community groups on the barriers Māori face in renting or buying homes.
Marae chair Hurimoana Dennis says activists like Tiny Deane in Rotorua, Ricky Houghton in Kaitaia and Tommy Wilson in Tauranga were able to share what they were doing to address homelessness and poor housing in their communities.
"Tiny started off with nothing. He mortgaged his house. Matua Ricky, he gets in there and does it, and Matua Tommy Wilson down in Tauranga and us, we only had $100 in our bank when we started. We didn't wait for the big money or everything to get into alphabetical order. We just got on with it. The agencies are just way behind," he says.
Mr Dennis says the hearing also heard how the Ministry for Social Development, which was given responsibility for social housing placements by the previous National-led Government, has poor communication and front end service delivery.
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