The significant amount of redevelopment in Auckland’s North Shore is affecting a lot of people and impacting on the need for emergency housing.

Housing New Zealand started the redevelopment of its Northcote properties, replacing 20 homes built in the 50’s and 60’s, with 59 modern homes and apartments.

De Paul House manager Jan Rutledge said, “while that’s going to be largely positive, at the moment it’s causing quite a lot of upset for families who have been long established in the parish”.

While it is part of HNZ’s mandate to transfer dislocated families to new homes, it is unlikely that they are transferred in the same area.

Ms Rutledge said it makes no sense for long-standing families on the North Shore to be housed either in west or south Auckland.

“This is home. And their work is here, too. It doesn’t make sense to push them out to south or west, when they are on low wage. They just have to pay [for] more petrol,” she said, adding that children are affected, too.

This was why, Ms Rutledge said, she was overjoyed when the Maria Assumpta parish in Beach Haven offered De Paul House their presbytery for emergency housing.

“This property was filled the next week after the blessing. There is immense need out there. And we have properties that are multi-tenanted. It’s alarming how easy it is to fill these properties and how hard it is to house people on the North Shore,” she said.

Ms Rutledge said homelessness is a big problem in the North Shore, where rentals average $500 a week.

“I think it’s actually underreported. Families are afraid to present because they are afraid to put their whanau and families in jeopardy. They are often sharing overcrowded houses with private landlords or Housing New Zealand,” she said.

Maria Assumpta Parish council chairperson Sesalina Setu said help is being given to some families from the parish who lived in the state houses to get assurances from the crown housing agency that they (families) will be rehoused in the new development.

“There’s a process that they have to go through. We are supporting them through the process at this stage,” she said.

The parish council recently turned over its presbytery to De Paul House which enabled the Catholic agency to house a family.

De Paul House also recently acquired a property in Northcote that allowed them to help more families.

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