Greens throw weight behind cash hit trust

By Abi Thomas

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The Green Party's housing spokesman has thrown his support behind the work of a local housing trust in financial crisis.

The Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing Trust (TTEHT) needs $15,000 to keep operating its temporary accommodation in Whangarei.

Northland-based David Clendon said: "It's become a two-edged sword. The Government is diverting a lot of the funds elsewhere ... and there's not much private money around."

He said any group that relied on donations and grants was struggling at the moment - but the value of each service needed to be assessed in order to better direct funds raised.

TTEHT provides temporary accommodation, typically for six to eight weeks, for about 33 people including women and children, people who have lost their jobs, and single men released from prison.

Trust volunteers help with things such as budgeting and transitions to further accommodation. That help can include ways of getting into their own home, something the Green Party is trying to help with in its recently released housing policy.

The trust supports the policy, which includes a plan for the Government to build houses for up to $300,000 in which families would live for a basic weekly payment and eventually own if they paid slightly more.

Chrissy McLoughlin, of the trust, said anything that made it easier for Northlanders to own their own homes was a positive, but she was unsure about the fine print of the Greens' policy.

It also depended on whether the people in the houses were able to get their equity back if they chose not to buy, she said.

Mr Clendon said families would pay a weekly rent of around $200, plus a further $100 which would become the equity in their home. "People would be able to take their equity and use it to purchase another home if that's what they prefer."

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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