Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PR-driven policy doesn't solve homelessness

Back in September, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett promised she would end Auckland's homelessness crisis by spending an extra $2 million on emergency housing. Six months on has she done it? Of course not:

Government funding aimed at injecting more money into emergency housing and making more homes come available in January is still yet to be spent.

Social housing minister Paula Bennett said back in September that the Government would invest $2 million in non-government organisations for short-term emergency housing.

However, a tender process was being followed and requests for proposals had been submitted, the minister's office confirmed.

Negotiations were underway with social housing providers and support services. A decision would then be made as to where the money should go to.

Meanwhile, while she's faffing about, people are sleeping in cars and in parks. In a decent human being, that would be a cause for urgency, to solve this crisis as quickly as possible. But Bennett clearly doesn't see it as urgent, or a crisis. Instead, like so many other National policies, it seems to have been driven solely by PR considerations. The goal of the policy isn't the outcome, but the announcement; to create the perception of action rather than actually acting. But that only works as long as no-one looks behind the curtain to check up on whether it gets followed through. And now that the inaction has been exposed, we should be a lot more cynical about such announcements in future.