Mum, baby faced sleeping in car

NEIL REID
Last updated 14:31 28/06/2014

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A young mum was taken in by the Salvation Army after she and her newborn baby faced having to live in a car. 

The woman - who is aged in her 20s - gave birth in Auckland about two weeks ago. But after the pair were released from hospital, they had no other living arrangements.

Salvation Army's social policy director Campbell Roberts said the woman approached the Salvation Army for emergency assistance after her only other accommodation option was living in her car.

''The woman herself got in touch with us ... she came to us,'' Roberts said. ''She just didn't have any resources really. The only accommodation she had was living in the car.

''Before then [prior to giving birth] she had been living with other people. But that had all fallen over.''

Roberts was reluctant to reveal too many specifics of the case, for fear of identifying the young mother, but said alternative accommodation had been arrranged for the woman and her baby.

The case highlighted both the pressures that social agencies like the Salvation Army were under to care for some of New Zealand's most vulnerable, as well as the stark reality that a growing number of cash-strapped Kiwis faced, Roberts said.

''It is an indication of the sort of pressure that is now facing community agencies who are having to deal with these sorts of circumstances,'' he said.

''It is just appalling that we have reached this stage in New Zealand where these events occur.''

Roberts said the young mum and her baby should never have been able to leave hospital with no warm, dry and safe accommodation to go to.

He believed the fact she was able to highlighted that case loads for social workers had become so vast that cases like this were able to ''fall through''.

''I am sure that that doesn't happen most of the time. But the reality is when we are running with such high numbers [of people in poverty] ...case workers are under such pressure with the people that they are dealing with that that is why they occur.

''It is an indication that at some points we do get extreme things happening.''

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- Auckland

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