Porirua woman says change in Government’s emergency housing costs will make her family homeless


“I’ve never lived in a car before, it’s just crazy that we’re going to do that this weekend because of this Government announcement.”

The four children are aged between five and 17, and one has special learning needs. 

Marina said landlords refuse to rent them a three-bedroom house, and a four-bedroom house is too expensive. 

“I’d tried my best to find alternatives for us, but just haven’t had any luck. This added pressure from the Government right now is horrible. 

“How is it fair to have to pay $400 for a hotel room for five people, versus $400 for a three-bedroom emergency house for five people?”

But MSD’s Regional Director, Jamie Robinson, says the intention of the policy is to put them on the same footing.

 “Marina’s weekly emergency housing contribution will be based on 25 percent of her net income from her job plus 25 percent of her family tax credits for her first child, significantly less than market rent in her area.”

He says Marina is on the social housing register and MSD is working to get her into long-term accommodation.

The Emergency Housing Contribution was announced by the Government back in February, but the March start date was delayed because of COVID-19.

The Ministry says case managers are talking and working with clients to support them with the change, but this is not Marina’s experience.

“To say that case managers are working closely with me is a lie. I send emails and texts with no response and the only time I do hear from them is when it’s time for an extension,” she told Newshub. 

Robinson says if paying the emergency housing contribution creates serious hardship for anyone, the Ministry encourages people to talk with them about their situation so it can make sure they’re getting all the financial support they can.

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