Bureaucratic hurdles temporarily stifled the dreams of a man with a land and a goal to house the homeless.
Te Kai Po Ahuriri, 49, was granted a free 100-year lease for land on Old West Rd in Linton near Palmerston North.
The 11 hectare block is home to 20 people, who live in a set of homemade cabins, vans, caravans and cabins.
Ahuriri and his wife Missy have decided to stop taking people in until the facilities on the ground are upgraded, including toilets, drinking water and improved roads.
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He heard of Palmerston North City Council’s concerns about children on property and washrooms, and called for limiting the numbers so as not to jeopardize giving people with no choice a place to live.
Ahuriri said he was saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency housing costs at work and income, and people were happy.
They would rather be on the farm than in emergency housing, he said. It was a stress free lifestyle, and people could get back to basics and focus on themselves after tough times in their lives.
He said 25 other people wanted to move in, but he could not accommodate them.
The farm has a gas shower, two compostable toilets and access via a dirt road. Drinking water is not available and he buys water for people to drink.
Ahuriri said the goal was to upgrade the facilities as soon as possible, but was working with limited funds.
“People think you need the money to do something like this, but you don’t.”
Willpower, determination and passion were what was needed.
Department of Social Development central regional commissioner Graham Allpress said the Linton facility was not one of its providers of emergency accommodation and was not actively monitoring health, safety and standards. on-site sanitation.
The people who hosted its clients had to meet relevant regulatory standards imposed by authorities, including local councils.
âWe encourage anyone who thinks they have nowhere to go to come talk to us. We can provide personalized support to help people overcome the barriers they face in accessing and maintaining adequate housing. “
He said staff could connect people with support services, such as budgeting advice and addiction services, to deal with issues.
âWe take safety concerns in emergency housing very seriously and find that the vast majority of customers are respectful of other customers and the local community. “
Allpress said if a guest said he felt unsafe, he would work with him to identify alternative accommodation and encourage him to report any criminal activity to police.
Emergency housing contributions have been capped at 25 percent of a person’s income, leaving clients three-quarters of their benefits and other aids.
City council planning services director Simon Mori said officials were looking to meet with Ahuriri to sort out building authorization and resource issues related to the activity on the land he leased from Old West Coast Rd.
“No cap on the number of people living on earth [have] was put in place by the board at that time.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in Palmerston North last week, said emergency housing was a short-term solution, but was still a roof over people’s heads.
“I prefer them to be in emergency accommodation than a car, but I prefer them to be in a house rather than emergency accommodation.”
She said the government had given KÄinga Ora additional borrowing capacity and would see 18,000 social halfway houses built.
He was also working on amending the Resource Management Act to help people build houses faster.