New proposal aims to almost halve inner-city Auckland homelessness in 90 days
Tiny houses in Auckland Domain could provide temporary accommodation for inner-city homeless.
Homelessness has reached an all-time high in Auckland's inner city, with the Auckland City Mission reporting 177 people sleeping rough within a three-kilometre radius of the Sky Tower.
Recent years have seen the closing of the night shelter and an increase in the waiting list for social housing.
But Rob Thomas, Auckland Council candidate for the Waitemata & Gulf ward, says he has a plan that could deliver housing for 70 inner-city homeless within 90 days.
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His proposal suggests that Auckland Council's soon-to-be vacated Kari Street Nursery site in Auckland Domain be used to build 70 "tiny houses" to provide temporary emergency accommodation for the homeless.
The houses could be built with the help of community volunteers and would draw on already existing funds.
"Auckland Council has sat on its hands over the last year with $360,000 for temporary emergency housing and has achieved nothing. This 90-day plan provides people with basic necessities and human dignity," said Thomas.
The proposal wasn't a long-term housing solution but would help those most at risk until long-term social housing became available.
Each tiny house would cost an estimated $3200 to build and provide shelter, warmth, lighting, solar USB charger and a storage locker, Thomas said.
The existing $360,000 annual budget would also cover the costs of 24-hour security, bathroom facilities, a bike shed and a large community garden.
"Housing prices and rents have skyrocketed in Auckland and we have to be thinking creatively to deliver results for our most vulnerable people," said Thomas. "Spending $360,000 on renting properties for 70 people would run out in under three months in Auckland.
"The money is there. The land is there. The will is there. We just need to get on with it and stop mucking about."
The Kauri Street Nursery occupies two hectares of land in Auckland Domain and will become vacant in September. The site already contains a number of buildings and has a secure perimeter.