'Vulnerable' homes need help before winter

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 10:19 12/02/2014
Vicki Buck
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ
CONCERNED: Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck said the council was keen to do whatever it could to ensure the wellbeing of residents.

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A concerted effort needs to be made before the winter to identify every vulnerable household in Christchurch, says the Human Rights Commission.

It is worried three years after the February 2011 quake there are still hundreds of people stuck in inadequate housing, unable to move on and uncertain of how or where they can get help.

"We have to find out who these vulnerable people are before the next winter and everything we can to make sure they have adequate shelter,'' David Rutherford, chief commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, told Christchurch City councillors this morning.

Rutherford attended a meeting of the council's earthquake recovery committee-of-the-whole to brief councillors on the human rights issues that had arisen in Christchurch as a result of the quakes.

He suggested the council should be leading a massive door-knocking exercise to identify those who were still struggling and needing help.

Rutherford said high levels of psychosocial harm were being seen in Christchurch caused by the stress of community dislocation, financial distress, unresolved insurance claims and poor or insecure housing.

Property rights and lack of participation in decision-making had also become big issues.

"This is New Zealand's greatest human rights challenge,'' said Rutherford.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck, who chaired the meeting, said the council shared the concerns raised by Rutherford and was keen to do whatever it could to ensure the wellbeing of residents.

She suggested the Human Rights Commission, the council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority should hold a joint meeting to work out what needed to be done and who should do it.

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