National executive of the New Zealand Māori Council Matthew Tukaki is opening a discussion for marae across NZ to open doors as temporary housing.
His comments came ahead of today's housing announcement in a Facebook post:
"More than a thousand of our whānau sleep in their cars in Auckland alone. Many of them are the working poor who cannot afford the rising cost of rentals. And it's not just places like Auckland, [there's also] Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki, Kaikoura and many of our provincial hubs. I call them the forgotten whānau. The truth is it will take years to reverse the housing crisis. In the meantime, is it time to ask our marae across the nation to open their doors as temporary accommodation and in doing so, ask the Government to shift some of the million dollar a day spend from motels to marae?"
Tukaki is set to release a plan in the coming weeks which will address the housing issues within the rental, buy, and build market.
Tukaki told the Herald it's about "creating a model for all agencies [non-Māori and Māori] to work together".
He says the initiative wouldn't require more funding but "spending money wisely of what we already have".
"I would prefer to see $1m a day go towards infrastructure that can be sustained for the long-term which marae have done before.
"The engagement [from the Facebook post] I received was huge. Most people were in support and some were wary or concerned about tikanga practices including tangihanga," which Tukaki believes can be sorted and dealt with.
Many marae offer social and health services, as well as childcare, with kōhanga reo and kura services available. All of which are not available when placed in a motel or emergency housing.
"It's always up to the individual marae who have the appetite for it and how they want to run it.
The Government announced today a $2 billion dollar allocation to Kāinga Ora which Tukaki says gives him confidence, but the need to address homelessness and low-income families who are living in their cars or without shelter should not be a burden for one single agency.
"We should be helping.
"It will take time to build all these extra houses – at least 10 years, but it doesn't solve the tens of thousands of people who are in need of help right now."
Te Puea, a Māngere marae in South Auckland has created its own indigenous homeless delivery model which effectively helped 533 people into their own homes.
The model addresses the adverse impacts of homelessness in a culturally respectful and appropriate way and chairman Hurimoana Dennis says it can be applied or adopted throughout the country.
"In early 2017, whānau kept coming to our marae with nowhere to go, no homes and they were sleeping in their cars," Dennis said in a statement.
"The board of trustees were angered and disappointed. To date, our delivery model, Manaaki Tangata e Rua, has placed 533 Māori, Pacific, ethnic and Pākehā people into homes and helped them get their lives back on track.
"It did what agencies could not do.
Te Puea Memorial Marae has pragmatic solutions to improve current affordable housing provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan such as allocating 10 per cent of the new dwellings in large scale residential subdivisions or developments to be for affordable housing.
"We are looking for Mana ōrite – using our experience in real and practical ways to lead our own solutions for our people.
"It can't be the Crown just reviewing themselves and setting themselves up in terms of policies and systems, there has to be an equal and shared opportunity make it right."