Simon Collins is the Herald’s education reporter.

Helping the homeless: Marae grateful for Government's offer of help

Te Puea Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis. Photo / Nick Reed
Te Puea Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis. Photo / Nick Reed

The Mangere Marae which has opened its doors to the homeless says it is happy with a Government offer of backup help.

Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis told reporters at the Marae that he was pleased with the outcome of a private meeting with Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett this morning.

The meeting was moved from a Mt Eden cafe to a cafe in central Auckland at an earlier time to avoid what Mr Dennis described as "a media circus".

Ministry of Social Development staff have been working at the Marae since it opened up to receive homeless families last month.

Mr Dennis said Mrs Bennett agreed that the Marae should remain a "front door" for homeless people to access housing and social support.

But he said the minister had now offered to provide the full backup of services as required.

"On the ground we need social workers. We are looking at something that adds value to what we do," he said.

He said the Marae had helped 27 families and individuals into housing, with some placed in social housing and others with families offering space in their homes, and in motels and lodges.

Mrs Bennett said she reiterated her support for the work the South Auckland marae was doing in helping vulnerable people in need.

"We have agreed to continue working together to house people in need as soon as possible," she said.

"Mr Dennis also asked for more logistical support from Ministry of Social Development and that will be provided."

- NZ Herald

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