What can other countries learn from New Zealand’s ambitious homelessness project?
Photo by Alvin Decena/Pexels.
About 40,000 New Zealanders — or 1 in every 100 — are homeless. With winter fast approaching (winter starts in June in the Southern Hemisphere), working to combat homelessness is a high priority. The season can cast a frigid chill over the country, bringing temperatures as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford have announced a $100 million initiative to help get each of these 40,000 people into housing before winter hits.
Both officials stressed that they don’t want anyone sleeping outside or in cars this winter. Instead, they want to tap into community housing resources so that everyone currently living on the streets can live with dignity and a roof over their heads.
The New Zealand government says that if this initiative is successful, it will help increase momentum when it comes to solving other issues.
Currently, homelessness is concentrated primarily in urban areas — with Auckland being the largest, but also a few of the smaller cities like Wellington. The government, wanting to tap into the available housing in these cities, is directly asking its citizens to bring any housing that might be available into the conversation.
With this $100 million grant and the cooperation of its citizens, New Zealand hopes to find shelter for every unhomed person before winter begins on June 21.