Hamilton 'absolutely not' over peak of homelessness - politicians under pressure for those needing emergency housing

Whena Owens of TVNZ1's Q+A investigates the state of Hamilton's homelessness and the efforts to find homes for the people needing emergency housing.

Hamilton has been hailed as a model by politicians in its management of homelessness. A bylaw change and the work of the People's Project has been credited with a reduction in people living in rough and temporary accommodation. 

But according to Hamilton Nightshelter trust manager Peter Humphries, Hamilton is 'absolutely not' yet over the peak of homelessness. 

"We've had the busiest month we've ever had here at the Hamilton Christian night shelter for men." 

Last year there were 277 applicants on the Hamilton City social housing register, this year has jumped to 353 households requiring a home with Housing New Zealand. 

Hamilton Salvation Army, Captain Jenny Collings says, the current state can see two families doubling up all sharing a three bedroom house.

"Actually that's become quite normal even in Housing New Zealand," she said. 

Sarah Manning, one the many doubling up in Hamilton looking for rental accommodation, says she just cannot find a house. 

"I've got excellent references but there's nothing really available,

"What's wrong is there are 40 other families turning up for the same viewing," Ms Manning said. 

Hamilton Mayor, Andrew King says,"We do have a housing crisis. I've said for three years now that we have a housing crisis."

"There will always be homelessness, but it's not how it should be."

He says motels are not ideal but are better than being on the street and in a year, the first of many new housing projects will be completed. 

Our reporter Whena Owen with this investigation into the state of homelessness in Hamilton City. Source: Q+A



Have you seen this missing 34-year-old Hamilton man?

Police are appealing the public for any sightings of a 34-year-old Hamilton man, who went missing earlier this week. 

John Emanuel Comer was last seen at an address on Memorial Drive in Hamilton on May 22. 

In a statement police said he is described as European, of thin build and stands 175cm tall.

John's friends and family are concerned for his safety and police want to hear from anyone who has seen or had contact with him since he went missing.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts are encouraged to contact Hamilton police.

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'Why isn't it happening?' - Education Minister questioned over promise of scrapping school donations

Labour Party promises such as scrapping school donations will eventually happen, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins, but just not yet.

TVNZ1's Q+A host Corin Dann said one of the biggest Labour Party promises that teachers and schools were disappointed about was around the scrapping of school donations. 

"You've been quoted as saying you'd been getting work underway, that you were really keen to see this happen, why isn't it happening?"

It would mean the government would effectively pay donations for parents. 

"It's a promise we're absolutely committed to delivering on, we haven't been able to deliver on it in the first Budget... There are a lot of financial pressures that we had to deal with in the first Budget, including the biggest increase in student numbers in decades," Mr Hipkins said. 

"The result is that we had to make sure we were funding that properly, we were putting extra teachers into schools... That was a higher priority."

National Party's education spokesperson Nikki Kaye questioned Mr Hipkins this week over the election promise. 

In July last year, Labour pledged to end voluntary school donations under a $4 billion revitalisation of the education sector. It was not included in Budget 2018. 

"I've been clear that the commitments in the Speech from the Throne, the coalition agreement, and the confidence and supply agreement would all be considered as part of the first and subsequent Budget processes," Mr Hipkins said. 

Ms Kaye asked Mr Hipkins: "Is he telling this House that on the morning that he was sworn in as a Minister, where he committed to end school donations, it's not valid because he hadn't signed his ministerial warrant; if so, are all promises that he made prior to signing this warrant invalid?"

Dr Jennifer Curtin, Grace Stanton, Whetu Cormick and Kim Campbell with Corin Dann. Source: Q+A

"Budget 2018 had to accommodate the largest cost pressures due to population growth in several decades," Mr Hipkins replied.

Other promises around such as adult education and getting 100 per cent qualified teachers in ECE, will be delivered in the first term, Mr Hipkins said on Q+A. 

Part 2 of the extended interview with Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Corin Dann. Source: 1 NEWS