Government set to give money to Te Puea Marae for housing homeless

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett is meeting with Te Puea Marae to discuss funding for the homeless.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett is meeting with Te Puea Marae to discuss funding for the homeless.

The Government will give money to Te Puea Marae to help it house homeless people in South Auckland.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox approached Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett asking for a cash injection for the marae after seeing how much they're "struggling" to run such a "huge operation".

The South Auckland base for the homeless, which is now in "crisis mode" is one of three maraes that have opened their doors, Fox said.

Bennett planned to meet the chairman of Te Puea Marae on Friday to discuss funding.

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"I think they're amazing and it gets back to that sense of community, that sense of caring for each other, and good on them - I wish they didn't have to," she said.

The Government was doing its bit to help the homeless and has already essentially provided the marae with money after Government ministry, Te Puni Kokiri (TPK), donated $10,000, Bennett said.

Fox said the Marae doesn't want to be the provider but has had no choice but to respond to homelessness, which has "skyrocketed in Auckland in the last year".

"They're all volunteers, it's a huge operation and they've had to cap it at 30 people."

She said the minister had indicated the money would come from the $41 million emergency housing fund.

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TPK secured $4 million in funding in last year's Budget for emergency housing, which it has used to give the Marae $10,000.

"People in New Zealand want to provide some support. They don't like the idea there's a homelessness situation in this country. Marae and individuals want to be able to help," Fox said.

While it was good Kiwis were helping - it wasn't "good that the Government has been caught out in this situation".

Te Puea Marae told Fox their help is only a "stop gap measure" and they don't want to be housing people past winter.


 - Stuff

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