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Understanding homelessness in rural Aotearoa.

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Parity, 30(8), 8-11

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This article provides analysis of the complex issue of homelessness among whānau in Northland, New Zealand.

The paper critiques the neo-liberal economic policies that have contributed significantly to the rise in homelessness, arguing that these policies have led to systematic erosion of citizen rights, particularly affecting minority groups. Faneva highlights how these policies have resulted in stagnant wages, rising inequality, and increased surveillance and control of the disadvantaged through data. The paper also discusses the challenges faced by homeless whānau, including the lack of nutritious food, escalating health problems, and the loss of data sovereignty. It sheds light on the negative impact of the government’s Social Investment approach, which, rather than addressing the root causes of risk in whānau, focuses only on symptoms. The paper also describes initiatives like Te Nohoanga and Kai Maara, aimed at providing emergency housing and empowering whānau through traditional food-growing practices. These initiatives, reflective of ancient successful models, are presented as essential steps towards reclaiming control over food security and overall well-being. Faneva calls for a national re-evaluation of the Social Investment approach, emphasising the need for a people-centred policy framework that respects and dignifies whānau in need. This paper is a crucial contribution to understanding the multifaceted nature of homelessness in rural New Zealand and the systemic changes required to address it.

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