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City homeless 'need housing first'

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 12:45 10/10/2012
mywood homeless
Grahame Cox / Fairfax NZ

FINALLY IN A HOUSE: Lewis Mydwood moved up to Auckland in October 1981 and only moved into a house this year.

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The Government needs to step in and help councils house the homeless, Auckland deputy mayor Penny Hulse says.

Hulse, speaking this morning at an event to mark World Homeless Day in Auckland's Aotea Square, said social housing should be the top priority.

"We need to make sure we don't lose our focus on social housing," she said.

"It's wrong to sell social housing, it's wrong to say councils shouldn't be in the business of social housing, it's one of the most important things we can do."

She said people need to be housed and secure and she claimed the Government was backing away from the issue.

"We need to advocate to central government, who seem to be stepping away at an alarming rate from supporting housing as a number one priority - supporting our community with mental health issues and funding for drug addiction services.

"Today is a good chance to stand up and give politicians a reminder, like me, of what we need to do."

Hulse said a council and a government was no good unless it helped the vulnerable.

Lewis Mydwood moved to Auckland from Rotorua in 1981 and was homeless until the start of this year and said that the city was becoming more dangerous for people on the streets.

"It's not safe around here now. There's a lot of violence but not from people in town, it's from the people from the west and south," he said.

The day's events in Aotea Square will include music, dancers, and talks from the Auckland City Mission and Monte Cecilia Housing Trust.

The MC of the event, Dr Ella Henry, said the groups would give an indication of how bad the problem was in Auckland.

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