Staff at the Ministry of Social Development say they are enthusiastic about the government’s $54 million investment in housing the homeless, with many describing it as a welcome change.
Members of the Public Service Association are eager to engage with newly created navigator and intensive case manager roles, and the union intends to support the government’s plans.
“People apply for jobs at MSD because they want to help those in need,” says Glenn Barclay, PSA National Secretary.
“It’s refreshing to see leadership that cares about the wellbeing of vulnerable New Zealanders, and our members are excited to play their part in making this vision a reality.”
Housing justice is a central campaigning priority for the PSA, with union members across the country reporting they struggle to afford rent or mortgage payments.
The PSA feels there is an urgent need for a bold, visionary transformation around how housing is organised, planned and delivered in New Zealand.
“We don’t need more people in motels, we need everyone in affordable housing,” says Mr Barclay.
“Sunday’s announcement is a much needed step in the right direction, but we also need a significant increase in housing supply to ensure MSD staff have good accommodation options to provide to clients.”
Detailed plans for what could be done are compiled in a free book published by the union, featuring a range of experts on the topic.
“Poverty, unemployment, homelessness and other social problems are interconnected problems, and it’s very difficult for people who slip through the cracks to get back on their feet without help,” says Mr Barclay.
“All our members want is to provide that help, but sometimes their hands have been tied by either limited resources or the different priorities of previous governments.”