Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: There is hope for families

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Dylan Thorne.
Dylan Thorne.

It's nice to have happy ending - especially when those at the centre of a story have endured much.

Such is the case for 4-year-old Chardonnay Daniels today and her parents, Priscilla Pukeroa and Anthony Daniels.

They are moving into a new home in the Eastern Bay. Hopefully it will be a fresh start after their recent struggles. Chardonnay will be warm and she will have her own bed.

As reported, when we launched our hidden homeless series in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, a blue Mitsubishi station wagon was her home address for six weeks. Thanks to financial donations from the community, almost three weeks ago the family were able to move into a motel. This week Housing New Zealand found them a home in Whakatane.

Their story and those of others struggling to find homes have helped shed light on an alarming social trend.

As a growing number of rentals are sold amid soaring property values, tenants are struggling to find replacement homes in a market already under pressure from outsiders moving to the Bay.

Rising rents are adding to the pressure cooker, forcing an increasing number of families into a transient lifestyle of emergency accommodation, bunking with family or friends, or at worst, sleeping in garages, tents and cars.

We now know that 10 per cent of kids at Merivale School are homeless or living in temporary accommodation. Local support service Te Tuinga Whanau has 140 people classed as homeless on its books, and more than 200 Bay people are on the social housing waiting list.

So, what is being done?

Developments over the past week show a response is under way. Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services launched the Whare 4 Whanau project to house struggling families. On Tuesday a nightshelter to house the growing numbers of homeless women sleeping rough in Tauranga was selected as a top funding priority from TECT.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said the recent increase in homelessness was apparent although it was not always showing up in official statistics.

"It's incumbent upon the Government to step up," he said.

Such a statement provides hope for those who have found themselves on the wrong side of a property boom.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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