13 Dec 2016

$2300 a week for family to stay in motel

8:41 pm on 13 December 2016

Work and Income is paying $2300 a week for a family waiting for social housing to stay in a motel.

Tuaine Murray, her husband and her son, who has a disability, have been living in motels for most of the year, while they wait for a Housing New Zealand property.

Ms Murray said the $2300 per week was for a unit at the Allenby Park Hotel in Papatoetoe.

Initially the money had to be repaid, but now the government is paying for it.

They were recently placed in emergency housing at the motel after stints at various other motels and the Manurewa Marae.

Ms Murray said she desperately needed a Housing New Zealand house, because they were struggling to get a private rental and were at the mercy of Work and Income.

She said the room did not have a functioning oven or a laundry. They could not go on living with these conditions and needed more stability, she said.

"We can't really carry on doing this. It's really hard. We've been doing it for such a long time ... We can't keep doing this to my son."

The Allenby Park Hotel has been charging Ms Murray and her family a premium - the normal rate would be slightly more than $1700 a week.

Ministry of Social Development responds

Ministry of Social Development spokesperson Kay Read said in a statement the family was not eligible for a state home until 2017.

She said it had given Ms Murray significant help since May, much of which she did not need to pay back.

When it came to emergency housing, the cheapest accommodation option was not always best, Ms Read said - due to transport, schooling, medical, housing availability and other factors.

She said Ms Murray had been repeatedly evicted due to her behaviour and, while she had a high-priority rating, there were a limited number of landlords willing to take a chance on her or properties that met her needs.

"We keep on working to find a permanent home for the family, and to ensure they're getting all the support they require to stabilise their situation, despite these challenges, because her son needs a stable home."

Ms Murray said she had never been evicted.

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