Homelessness is a growing issue in New Zealand. The latest census data (2013) shows that more than 40,000 people are without a home — a figure up 15 percent from the previous census. That is to say, according to official government definitions, close to 1 in 100 New Zealanders have exhausted all options to acquire safe and secure housing and are therefore homeless. This includes people living in cars, garages, temporary short-term accommodation and sleeping rough.
Affordable, secure, quality housing is becoming further and further out of reach for many, particularly in urban areas. In the UK, this can be traced back to the ill-judged policy choices of the Thatcher years, and the ongoing prioritisation of commercial and corporate interests by subsequent administrations, over those of the broader public/s they’re supposed to serve.
Acorn is a tenancy union designed to counter this failure, by teaming with vulnerable tenants to ensure their rights are recognised and protected. Sarah caught up with Luke Samuel, one of the coordinators of the Manchester chapter, to find out more.