Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Homeless families face upheaval again

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Mazz Adams, her five children and four other families are being kicked out of a motel and will be homeless again. Photo/Ruth Keber
Mazz Adams, her five children and four other families are being kicked out of a motel and will be homeless again. Photo/Ruth Keber

Five homeless Tauranga families who have been living in emergency accommodation are facing upheaval once more with motels booked out because of majot sports tournaments in the weeks ahead.

Five families, including 14 children and six adults, who have been living in the Ambassador Motor Inn for the last month because they cannot find a home, will now have to find alternative accommodation because of existing bookings.

Mazz Adams and her five children are one of those families. The Bay of Plenty Times told her story in June as she struggled to find somewhere for her family to live because her previous rental property was being sold.

They moved into the motel four weeks ago and have to be out by Saturday because of online bookings for the weekend, a basketball tournament starting next Wednesday and the Aims Games which begin next Sunday.

The other families were in the same situation, apart from one which was able to stay until Monday morning.

The Ministry of Social Development books families needing emergency accommodation into motels on a week-by-week basis.

"When I got to the motel, I discovered other homeless families were living there," Ms Adams said.

"I was quite amazed that there was nobody taking care of these families. There was no support.

"Then finding out we all had to be gone by the games was a big blow to everybody. We had no idea about the Aims Games and the impact it was going to have."

Ms Adams said she had contacted Work and Income and was told to look for accommodation outside of Tauranga.

"Which means I have to give up my job that I just got. My son, who is ADHD, is only just starting to engage and come right. I don't want to be out on the streets in this weather."

Ms Adams came to Tauranga from the Waikato six years ago to escape an environment of gangs, drugs, alcohol and violence so going back was not an option, she said.

Sue, who wanted to be known only by her first name, and her two children were among the families staying at the inn. She said they would not be the only homeless families staying in motels around Tauranga who would be affected.

Ambassador Motor Inn owner Roger Barclay said he did what he could to help accomodate the families but he had existing bookings he had to honour.

Mr Barclay said if bookings came in before the ministry booked for another week, he had to accept them.

He was booked out by the same school during the week of the Aims Games each year and also had long-standing bookings for a basketball tournament being held in Tauranga next week, he said.

He had openings for nights here and there but could not guarantee a full week until after September 9.

Merivale Community Centre manager Tauha Te Kani said he would be able to provide accommodation for Ms Adams and her children but could not fit anyone else at the centre.

The other families did not have offers of accommodation.

Ministry of Social Development deputy chief executive of social housing Nic Blakeley said Work and Income was working with families in the Tauranga area who could be affected by the demand for local accommodation created by the Aims Games.

"We're aware that the games will have a major impact on accommodation, much of which will have been booked months, if not even a year beforehand.

"We're checking in with those families whose emergency accommodation we're paying for. For those who can't stay where they are because of prior bookings, we are suggesting they stay with friends or family. If they find a place outside of Tauranga we'll look at paying for them to travel there.

"We'll work with the families to look at all the options available to them," he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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