Housing report

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate concerned as emergency housing residents report feeling increasingly unsafe

Southgate told AM she was “completely appalled” and “very angry” when she heard about the report.

“The allegations made are simply appalling. No woman, no child should be exposed to this kind of intimidation and torment from a safe house,” Southgate told stand-in host Laura Tupou.

“It’s supposed to be a home where they’re safe from that kind of behavior and it puts them at greater risk and that’s just not acceptable.”

Southgate said the key to breaking the rise in emergency housing-centric crime is getting residents into affordable housing.

“Crime is a very complex puzzle to untangle but, in this case, it is directly linked to the concentration of people in emergency accommodation, in accommodation that is not really suitable.

“I mean, they’re motels and they’re barely renovated. They just walk in and use them like they were used for a motel.

“That’s not the way to live, especially when you get to two or three years in this type of housing. So the critical point is to find affordable alternatives for people to house them within the community where they have the opportunity to thrive and access the normal community facilities that everyone has.

Southgate said there was social housing underway which could help alleviate the problems, but warned it would take time to build.

“We are working with Kāinga Ora and other housing providers across Hamilton to increase the proportion of affordable housing, but it will take some time to build.

“We have some very large development projects going on south and west of Hamilton…but that doesn’t solve the immediate problem, which is that there just isn’t enough housing at this affordable level.

“We are doing what we can to enable people to grow as quickly as possible, but it’s not easy.”

Watch the full interview with Paula Southgate above.