Park up for homes: Parnell signifies time for a change
The #ParkUpForHomes protests will be drawing to a close over the next fortnight, with a final Auckland event happening this Thursday August 25, in the central suburb of Parnell.
Organisers are hopeful that the final events will engage many in the mission to raise awareness of growing homelessness in New Zealand, to stand strong together and drive the message home that New Zealand will not tolerate these conditions. No family should be out in the cold when a country of wealth has the means to keep all safe and warm.
The #ParkUpForHomes movement of peaceful protests all share a common goal of seeing an increased Government response to the growing housing crisis and measures to create a better safety net for the most vulnerable who are being squeezed out of housing and into cars, garages and caravan parks. The family friendly rallies will include free entertainment and sausage sizzles.
Since the Park up for homes movement began, the Government has responded with a number of solutions, which though are helpful in the short-term, none has directly addressed the root causes of homelessness for families, namely inadequate incomes and the increasing cost of housing.
On July 2 Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett announced a paltry $9 million over two years in what the Governments says will “Deliver Better Housing Outcomes”.
“Half this budget is for community organisations to work with state tenants when they are in danger of losing their tenancies,” says Alan Johnson, CPAG spokesperson for housing.
“In effect the Government is paying NGO’s to stop a Government agency from evicting state tenants – this is just plain crazy.”
Mackenzie Valgre, spokesperson for the Parnell event, says, “There are children who are doing their homework in a van - where they live with the rest of their whānau. This is not only heartbreaking, but it proves a failure of our nation. It is time our Government faced those facts, and enacted the bold, radical change that is so desperately needed.”
The location for #Park Up: Parnell will be announced on Facebook on Wednesday this week. All are welcome - and organisers are hopeful that local MPs will also show up to support those who have been living rough.
The final national event will take place in Palmerston North on September 2.