28 Oct 2014

Caravan parks 'not suitable' housing

3:33 pm on 28 October 2014

It is not suitable for families to have to sleep in caravans, cars, garages or caravan parks, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

The Salvation Army and the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust say Aucklanders who are struggling to find a place to live are increasingly resorting to living in urban camping grounds and caravan parks.

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Ms Bennett said there were no quick fixes, but the plan was to come up with better options for people in vulnerable housing.

Paula Bennett

Paula Bennett Photo: SUPPLIED

"There's absolutely no way that people living in garages, people living in cars, people living in overcrowded situations and in caravan parks that are, at times, are quite poorly run is by any means suitable," she said.

Ms Bennett said a caravan park in Ranui in west Auckland where some families stay in one-bedroom cabins is up for sale and has hinted the Government may play a part in what happens to it.

"It has really been a problem. He has had it up for sale so there are, I believe, negotiations going on locally that Government is having some involvement with, so we'll see where that ends up."

Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said Work and Income routinely referred people to camping grounds because there was no emergency housing in some areas.

He said it was not good enough to say 'watch this space' when the Government had been in power for six years and problems caused by a lack of emergency housing have continued to get worse.

The Western Park Village caravan park in west Auckland.

The Western Park Village caravan park in west Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Nicole Pryor

Mandy moved to the Western Park Village in Ranui at Christmas, after struggling with high rents and a lack of suitable housing. She pays $375 a week for a one-bedroom cabin she shares with her two children aged 10 and 12.

The head of Salvation Army Community Ministries Major Pam Waugh said many vulnerable people were heading to camping grounds for urgent housing.

"They often offer no bond, so it's easy to get in - so it's an easy option when things are looking grim," she said.

They included people on a benefit and low-wage earners, Ms Waugh said.

Mandy stands outside her home at Western Park Village in West Auckland.

Mandy stands outside her home at Western Park Village in West Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Nicole Pryor

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