Homelessness

Photo of the Day

Yula inspects makeup [Courtesy of Hanna Polak]

Yula’s Dream

The Russian Girl Who Grew Up in a Garbage Dump

It’s a universal story. There’s homelessness everywhere in the world… For 14 years, filmmaker Hanna Polak followed Yula as she grew up in the forbidden territory of Svalka; the garbage dump located 13 miles from the Kremlin in Putin’s Russia. Yula’s story – is a dramatic tale of coming of age and maturing to the point of taking destiny into one’s own hands. It is a story of hope, courage, and life

Youthful Yula has but one dream – to lead a normal life. She was one of the inhabitants of the “Svalka” outside Moscow. A few kilometers away from the Red Square, there it’s another world. This Svalka, known simply by its Russian term for rubbish dump, was the largest landfill in Europe.

Yula lives in Europe’s largest trash dump, called Svalka, just 13 miles from the Kremlin in Putin’s Russia. Her home is made of heaps of garbage, where she and her mother, Tanya, are forced to work for an illegally-operated recycling business. They’re paid in denatured alcohol (a substance similar to rubbing alcohol). The residents drink and bathe in melted snow. They eat rotten food scraps and sleep on trash in makeshift huts. Their only connection to the outside world is through the garbage of others and the glimmering views of Moscow that can be seen from the dump

Just like the others, the girl subsists on what she finds in the dump. From the mountains of rubbish she digs out clothes, food, cosmetics, sometimes an old radio, or a carpet. In the scrap collection centre metal junk can be exchanged for a bottle of vodka. Here this is the only currency.

As a child, Yula played innocent games with the other children and with the toys found in the rubbish. She cracked jokes, listened to music and read magazines plucked from the trash. She listened to the radio to keep up with what was going on in the outside world.

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Water, rubbish and roads? Nope. Wellington mayor will drop house prices

Wellington ratepayers will be so pleased that their new mayor, Justin Lester, wants to drop the value of their houses.

A taskforce to tackle the affordability of housing in Wellington is being set up by new mayor Justin Lester.

It will examine issues including homelessness, social housing, schemes for first-home buyers, the rental market and housing density.

The council is hoping to report its recommendations by April so it can become part of its three-year plan.

Mr Lester said he wanted to make sure housing was affordable for all Wellingtonians.   Read more »

Told ya, Begging is a lifestyle choice

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There is absolutely no need to be begging on the streets in NZ. We have a gold plated welfare system and plenty of well-meaning aid agencies.

It has always been my firm belief that begging is a lifestyle choice and a survey in Hamilton tends to support that.

A weekend police survey in Hamilton discovered only two beggars were actually homeless and the others were bringing props and even dogs to help them appear poor.

The survey found only two of the 15 beggars were homeless.

The remaining 13 had brought duvet covers, cardboard signs and even sickly looking pets to give the impression they were living on the streets.

The city’s business community has called for change after beggars have been harassing or intimidating residents, according to TVNZ.   Read more »

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When will we finally be honest enough to declare a Shit Parenting Crisis?

The NZEI is agitating for the government take action on supposed homelessness.

The NZEI is today backing calls for a national strategy to end homelessness amid mounting evidence that thousands of children who lack a warm safe home are also being denied their right to an education.

It is compulsory to attend school…what is the NZEI going to do about truancy?

The Labour, Green and Māori Parties today released their report into solutions to homelessness, following a cross-party inquiry which heard from hundreds of submitters.

“The homelessness crisis affecting thousands of New Zealand children is also an educational crisis,” says Jan Tinetti, Principal of Merivale School in Tauranga and NZEI Executive member.   Read more »

Madness: Wellington mayoral candidate wants you to host P addicts, drunks and violent homeless

It really is the silly season at the moment. All sorts of ratbags and deadbeats are vying for votes and also coming up with insane and dopey ideas.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just the left-wing with dopey ideas.

One of Wellington’s mayoral candidates wants to help people make their spare rooms available to those in the city without homes of their own.

Jo Coughlan said she would consider putting up a person who was homeless in her own spare room if it would help.

Her suggestion came as the Wellington City Council received an update on its strategies to approach homelessness and begging.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if interested citizens could perhaps sign up to host a homeless person, particularly a person in transition,” Ms Coughlan said.   Read more »

A “tsunami” of homelessness has ripped through Tauranga – RNZ

We’ve run out of words to describe things sensibly.  In the effort to grab attention, everything gets ratcheted up to the point of absurdity.  The housing crisis isn’t a crisis any more.  Labour want it to be a State of Emergency.

And so we get to Tauranga, where homelessness is now so bad, there has been a ‘tsunami’ of it.

So that has to be pretty bad.  Imagine it, if you like.  And while you have that picture in mind, please consider some recent tsunamis:

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and  Read more »

Another day, and Labour bring out an even more comprehensive…er housing plan

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As the day’s announcement on Labour’s comprehensive housing plan policy fails to inspire, Labour come out with the revised/improved version overnight.

Part three of Labour’s housing policy splurge is being billed as comprehensive.

Labour leader Andrew Little says the announcement at 2pm on Sunday will deal with several issues, including speculators and housing affordability.

On Thursday he announced an emergency housing policy, and on Saturday at the party’s centenary conference in Wellington he followed up with a state housing policy. Read more »

Nobody truly cared about the homeless until National blinked

“The country has been shocked by the recent rise in homelessness,” Labour leader Andrew Little says.

“No New Zealander feels good about children sleeping rough and families living in their cars.”

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett was asked by Labour’s Phil Twyford in the House on Wednesday if she would support the investigation.

However, she said the Government was already doing work on the problem.

“We have a range of initiatives, some which are already implanted, some which we are implementing and some that are still in the negotiating stages – all of which will make a huge difference in the issues of homelessness and emergency housing, and that’s what we want to concentrate on,” she said.

Mr Twyford then asked whether she’d influenced her caucus colleagues on the Social Services Committee to vote against the proposal, considering “they’d been supportive” of it before.

“I didn’t instruct the caucus to do anything. We had a discussion and we came to it as a collective,” Ms Bennett replied.

Nevertheless, Labour and the Greens will soldier on with the investigation, which will include hearings in a number of main centres for public submissions.

Mr Little welcomed the involvement of any other political party which wanted to join the cause.

“It is disturbing that National MPs on the committee were supportive of our proposal, but they appear to have been slapped down by the Prime Minister who ruled out an inquiry on Monday,” Mr Little says.

Greens’ social housing spokeswoman Marama Davidson says the Government could have supported a cross-party inquiry but instead have “chosen to ignore” the problem.

“You only have to walk along Courtenay Pl and Queen St to see that homelessness is growing in this country and, as MPs, we can’t stand by and watch that happen,” she says.

“I have seen first-hand how serious the homelessness crisis is, but the Government is refusing to take any meaningful action, and people are hurting.”

Under questioning by her in the House this afternoon, John Key said the rate of homelessness had increased under his prime ministership.

The plight of the homeless, including those living in their cars has come to the fore over the past few months.

A number of protests and support events have been held across the country in which people with homes spend the night in their cars.

Mr Little says the idea for the inquiry initially came from the Coalition to End Homelessness – a group of NGOs working with the homeless.

National are faltering in managing this political attack, and the Media-party-assisted pressure from the left is resulting in poorly thought out strategy and public statements from the government.

Labour and the Greens are smelling blood, and they may actually be onto something, for once. Read more »

Paula Bennett is planning a second refugee centre in Mangere – for New Zealanders

Paula Bennett wants to build a slum emergency housing…in South Auckland.

A “pop-up” housing park of 100 or so prefabs for temporary use could be established in South Auckland by next autumn, says Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.

It would house present state tenants whose property was being redeveloped and others in urgent need of housing.

She told the Herald on Sunday she was thinking of about 100-150 houses for the first and she had identified three sites in South Auckland that could take that number.

But “temporary” housing has yet to be defined and she was looking at several options.

“Some of the modular housing is just outstanding – for like 20 years,” she said.   Read more »

Comment of the Day

The indomitable George again:

Lizzie Marvelly comment (NZH): “Cycle of homelessness can end”.
She claims:

“Before last July I had no idea how it felt to sleep out on the concrete in the middle of winter. I never knew that your bones ache, not just from the cold, but also from the constant contact with the hard, uncompromising surface. I didn’t know that the ground feels much colder than the air, or that sleeping in the city means being woken up almost hourly if you get to sleep at all. I never realised that sleeping outside with a group of strangers can activate ancient human instincts, leading you to cling to any person you know, regardless of how shallow or recent your connection. As the weeks roll by and we fall deeper into the winter months, more than 41,000 Kiwis have no place to call home. And in our proud little nation, we all know that’s not the Kiwi way.”

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