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Policy responses to Maori urban homelessness.

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Parity, 29(8), 11-12

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This article addresses the pressing issue of homelessness in New Zealand, with a specific focus on the Māori population.

It emphasises the importance of incorporating Māori/Iwi values and perspectives in policy formulation related to homelessness. The report highlights the challenges faced by many Māori families in achieving home ownership due to economic disparities and the inability to leverage ownership interests in Māori land. It notes that in 2013, only 28.2% of Māori owned their homes compared to 49.8% of the general population, a gap exacerbated by lower median incomes and a more youthful demographic within the Māori community. As Kake notes, Matapihi Trust advocates for targeted policy responses to address the housing affordability crisis among Māori, including local government initiatives, home ownership education, and financial literacy programs. Furthermore, the report discusses the ‘Housing First’ philosophy, which provides housing without preconditions, and its application in New Zealand. Drawing comparisons with Canadian research, the Trust suggests that a one-sise-fits-all approach is ineffective and that Housing First initiatives must be tailored to meet the specific needs of the Māori population. The report concludes that Housing First should be part of a broader, systemic approach to homelessness. This approach includes investing in social and affordable housing, poverty reduction, and programs targeting at-risk populations. Emergency and transitional housing remains essential until affordable housing supply increases and Housing First programs are more extensively implemented.

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