Hutt City Council is taking action to address homelessness in the city, following a unanimous decision on Tuesday night to begin work on a homelessness strategy for Lower Hutt.
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said that homelessness is getting worse in the city and Council is taking action to support those in need.
“We know homelessness is an important issue in Lower Hutt, as it is across much of the country. At the Council meeting on Tuesday night, Councillors shared some incredibly moving stories about people who are dealing first hand with homelessness.”
“Homelessness also has wide-reaching effects on our communities. It affects the whole community; it impacts on health services, the local economy, and the education sector.”
Mayor Wallace said he was proud of his fellow Councillors for getting right behind the issue and thanked the public for talking to Council and telling their stories.
“I am proud that our Council is taking a serious look at this issue. It’s important that we build on the research we have just done and develop a strategy to help tackle homelessness in the city.”
“Our strategy will identify where Council can play a leadership role on this issue and we will work closely with other organisations. We will take on board what’s working and what’s not from other cities doing similar work and, of course, we remain committed to working closely with central government and other agencies on this, too.”
Mayor Wallace stated that the lack of suitable housing supply across the city was a key driver of homelessness.
“It’s not just about providing people with temporary and emergency housing; it’s about increasing the supply of housing across the city and making sure that we have a range of housing types and sizes to meet our communities’ needs.
“We’re looking at a number of ways to increase the total supply of housing in the city. For example, proposed changes to our District Plan will allow for a wider range of housing styles and sizes, especially in areas with good access to public transport. Council is also making new housing development in the city more attractive and affordable for developers by lowering upfront costs.
“In terms of social housing, we’re working closely with HNZ to create a long-term approach to housing in our city which puts the wellbeing of our families and children at the forefront.”