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Responding to Homelessness Among Rural Whānau in Northland.

Author Category Source

Parity, 29(8), 17-19

Published Year Read Publication

Faneva, the Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa, provides an analysis of homelessness among rural whānau in Northland.

The article begins with a historical context, highlighting how colonialism and subsequent policies deprived the Whangaroa community of their economic bases, social structures, spiritual domains, and cultural capital. This historical disenfranchisement is directly linked to current issues of homelessness among Māori communities. Faneva’s perspective on homelessness encompasses a broad definition that includes rough sleeping, temporary shelters, and severe overcrowding. He notes the increasing trend of whānau moving from urban areas to their ancestral lands due to affordability issues, only to face homelessness or overcrowding. These conditions manifest in various forms of trauma, poor health, and social disengagement. The article also addresses the economic aspects of homelessness in Northland, identifying the region’s Māori economy as underdeveloped and segregated. Faneva emphasises that many policies have failed to consider the potential of the Māori economy, leading to underemployment or unemployment among the Whānau, further exacerbating homelessness. Faneva outlines the “Kainga Ora” approach adopted by Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa, which focuses on providing secure and stable homes as a foundation for overall well-being. The strategy includes a spectrum of housing services like emergency housing, social housing, home repairs, and affordable home ownership programs, all delivered with comprehensive support services. The article concludes by emphasising the need for responsive housing policy across the sector to eradicate homelessness and increase the availability of safe and secure homes for whānau.

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