Another street, another empty lot where household rubbish is left to rot where Housing NZ homes once stood. This is Maraenui, yet it's a suburb that's screaming out for more housing.

A group of locals are fed up waiting for a solution, so they've taken matters into their own hands, forming CHAT - a Community Housing Action Team.

Spokeswoman Michelle Pyke says: "We want to be the ones leading this now because it's hurt so many families in our communities. And we, the CHAT members, are working hard at the coal face to help those struggling families and we are running out of options."

"I'm ashamed of this country," she says referring to housing issues.


CHAT is holding a public rally this Sunday. It's their way of putting a call out to the Government.

Kevin Swannell of Limitless Hope says the rally is an opportunity for Hawke's Bay to come together "under one banner to put some pressure on the Government to come up with some tangible solutions to the housing issue that we have".

"You see people in our society being destroyed just because of a lack of housing or appropriate accommodation."

The group are encouraged by a cross party report from the Greens, Labour and Māori party which puts forward recommendations to end homelessness in New Zealand.

Ms Pyke says that report needs to be adopted.

"We know it's not an overnight fix but it's got to be picked up and activated to even make a dent in it. So that's the main goal of the rally, sending the message to Wellington - you've got the ability, you've got the means, just do it."

In the meantime people are going to extreme lengths for help.

"Quite plainly, they could say that their address is 1 Marine Parade. Nobody in Wellington would know that that's actually the beach and I have had a client that's done that," Ms Pyke says.

Nelson Park Ward Councillor Maxine Boag says the social housing register is just the tip of the iceberg. "There are a significant amount of older people struggling to find affordable rental properties. They are just living on their pension and they are being squeezed, their rents have gone up and their benefit hasn't gone up accordingly."

"Its shameful that in a country like ours this is happening."

The group are optimistic that the public rally will encourage voters to consider the housing crisis come September.

"No matter who the party, we are apolitical we don't care really who wins the election we just want this problem looked at, picked up and resolved," Ms Pyke says.

Community organisations, local councils and of course MPs are invited to the rally at the Napier Soundshell, but the MPs will only have a limited time to speak.

Those who will be speaking freely are the VIP guests - the homeless, sharing their experiences caught in the midst of a housing crisis.

The rally is open to all public on August 6 at 2pm at Napier Soundshell.

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