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Solutions brainstormed at first housing meeting

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New Zealand First list MP Clayton Mitchell.
New Zealand First list MP Clayton Mitchell.

Concerned locals determined to do something about the Bay's housing crisis are putting their heads together in a series of meetings aimed at coming up with a solution.

Tauranga-based New Zealand First list MP Clayton Mitchell organised a meeting on Monday to brainstorm ways local people and organisations could help those struggling to find housing.

"We brought together 30 people across all sectors in Tauranga to start developing a local solution to ensure Auckland's social housing problem does not extend to our region.

"The council is considering land opportunities while others are looking at building temporary accommodation.

"No one should be left without a home - we intend to keep the momentum going," he said.

Mr Mitchell said the meeting was planned about four weeks ago and he was pleased to see a "great turnout of leaders".

Representatives from Tauranga City, Western Bay District and Bay of Plenty regional councils were present along with church groups, iwi leaders, non-government agencies and locals who wanted to help on the front lines.

The group came up with about 20 ideas and then whittled them down to the six most viable, he said.

Another meeting will be held in about a week to consider each option and make sure there would not be major unintended consequences from them.

He was tight-lipped on details of any of the early ideas because he wanted to refine them further before opening them up for public feedback - and criticism.

Mr Mitchell visited local parks one evening recently to speak to those settling in for a night in their cars. He said every person he spoke to had a job but rent increases or the sale of their rental had forced them out.

There were people from all sectors of society - young, old, with families - but the one thing they had in common was they were all at the lower end of the socio-economic scale and often earned minimum wage, he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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