Te Puea Marae opens its doors to politicians for inquiry into homelessness

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1 NEWS

South Auckland's Te Puea Marae has been helping New Zealand's growing homeless population and has told a panel of politicians the government is in breach of its human rights.

It was set up by Labour and the Greens after National blocked moves for a formal investigation.
Source: 1 NEWS

Four months ago Te Puea Marae welcomed the homeless for the winter and today it welcomed politicians, hosting a cross-party inquiry in a bid to get to the bottom of the problem.

"For us there were five prevailing things that keep poking their heads up every time we spoke to whanau: overcrowding, eviction below the poverty line, bureaucracy and poor decision making," said Hoari Dennis.

The Marae responded to the need, and  took up to 100 people and quickly reached capacity.

"Yes everyone who has come here without a home by crickey they come with everything else as well," Said Ms Dennis.

Other charitable groups spoke of their experience during the panel.

Danielle Bergin from the Island Child Charitable Trust said, "out of the last six families I've helped, five have arrived with new born babies."

Ms Bergin's been taking in the homeless for more than a decade and has been offered support from the Government's new $4 million emergency housing fund.

"Twenty-one thousand per year for helping property costs for that I'm supposed to take in three whanau at a time, this is from Minister Bennetts' 41.1 million," she says.

"We're getting brilliant results and we've just been thrown crumbs," explained Ms Bergin.

Today's panel consisted of politicians from the Labour Party, the Maori Party and the Greens but noticeably absent were NZ First and National.

"There's something terribly wrong with this picture and it's a shame the government's not here to hear these stories and get the wake-up call they so desperately need," said Phil Twyford.

Stories will continue to be told at hearings in Tauranga, Wellington, Kaitaia and Christchurch. 

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