23 May 2016

Families' housing debt skyrockets

9:02 pm on 23 May 2016

An advocacy group says Work and Income (WINZ) has responded poorly to the plight of a homeless mother who's having to borrow more than $1000 a week to pay for accommodation.

Exterior of the motel that Nicole is paying $190 per night for emergency housing with WINZ

Tuaine Murray is borrowing more than $1000 a week to pay for a basic motel unit Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Tuaine Murray is paying $1155 a week for a basic motel unit in Auckland's Takanini for her and her husband, and her 12-year-old son, who's in a wheelchair.

Auckland Action Against Poverty's coordinator Alastair Russell said it's a ridiculous situation, and Work and Income will be waiting a very long time to be repaid - if it ever will be.

He said all Work and Income did today was give Mrs Murray an accommodation supplement of $165, and a temporary payment of $112 - which still didn't go far enough.

Mr Russell said he had lodged a review of this decision today, along with five similar decisions Work and Income has made.

He said he also knew of another family owing more than $60,000 to Work and Income for emergency housing.

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