A charity wants the Government to pay for it to take over an Auckland motel for families who are living in caravan parks or doubling up in overcrowded houses.

Glen Eden-based VisionWest Community Trust was funded by the Government in March to take over a 19-unit motel in Christchurch for two years to house homeless families for up to eight weeks while social workers help them find permanent housing.

Trust chief executive Lisa Woolley says the initiative is working so well it should be extended to Auckland.

"The crisis that we have in Auckland is the same as in Christchurch.

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"We definitely need to build more housing, but we need something that is an immediate solution right now."

At the end of March, 1066 applicants for social housing in Auckland, and 334 in Christchurch, were in priority A - described as "at risk and including households with a severe and persistent housing need that must be addressed immediately".

Monte Cecilia Housing Trust executive David Zussman said 14 agencies provided emergency housing in Auckland, but mainly for 237 individuals in hostels such as the Salvation Army's 100-bed Epsom Lodge.

There were only 35 units for families, including 13 at Monte Cecilia.

Salvation Army social policy director Major Campbell Roberts said it had submitted a proposal to build 10 to 12 new emergency units on church and council land around Auckland as part of a government tender for 300 new social housing units.

But Aneta Rangirangi of Te Roopu o Te Whanau Rangimarie o Tamaki Makaurau, which houses four families in a three-bedroom house and a sleepout in Mangere, said families usually had to stay longer than the official four weeks.

Ms Woolley said the Christchurch initiative was rehousing families faster.

A Social Development Ministry spokesman said families in the Christchurch motel did not pay rent because the programme was fully funded.

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Outside Christchurch, the ministry paid to put families in motels in "some emergency situations".

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett ordered a review of the sector due by July 31.

"As a part of the review, we will consider a number of solutions, including the innovative approach being taken in Christchurch," she said.

Motel Association chief executive Michael Baines said it was probably cheaper to buy a motel than a house in parts of Auckland.

Housing the needy

1066

Auckland households on priority A housing waiting list.

35 emergency housing units available.

10-12 new units proposed by Salvation Army.

20 proposed in motel by VisionWest.