Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Kāinga Ora tenants sleep in flood-damaged homes as agency struggles to meet demand

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Kāinga Ora tenant Aileen Jack’s Māngere property was decimated in the recent Auckland Anniversary Weekend flooding and on Monday night during the height of Cyclone Gabrielle says she was ready to evacuate. Photo: Stephen Forbes / Stuff
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

Some Kāinga Ora tenants are continuing to sleep in flood-damaged properties as the public housing provider struggles to meet the sheer demand for homes.

Recent flooding has resulted in hundreds of Kāinga Ora properties being damaged in the Auckland region and the number of displaced people has soared.

Among the state housing tenants affected is Aileen Jack, whose Māngere home was flooded on Auckland Anniversary Weekend, destroying her furniture and appliances.

Jack said the only thing that prevented her property flooding a second time during the height of Cyclone Gabrielle this week was the decision by her family to help her sandbag her Elmdon St property.

Road workers had shut off part of her street on Monday night which runs over the nearby Te Ararata Creek because of the rising water levels.

The creek, which is less than 100m from her house, rises rapidly during storms and after the recent floods she wasn’t taking any chances.

“I was looking out the curtains with my torch to see how high the water was,” she said.

Jack said she was told by Kāinga Ora she could continue to live in the home as the upstairs area hadn’t been affected by last month’s flooding.

But she finds it hard to get up and down the stairs and is now living on the ground floor.

Aileen Jack’s home in Māngere’s Elmdon St is less than 100 metres from Te Ararata Creek which floods during bad weather. Photo: Stephen Forbes / Stuff

She’s lived in her Elmdon St house for the last 19 years and, despite losing thousands of dollars worth of household items in last month’s flooding, said she doesn’t want to leave.

Jack said she’d been sleeping on a camp stretcher in her lounge and has replaced her lounge furniture with plastic chairs she bought from the Warehouse.

“If there’s another flood the plastic chairs will be alright,” Jack said.

Kāinga Ora deputy chief executive for Auckland and Northland Caroline Butterworth said it had been a very difficult few weeks for the housing agency and its tenants.

“We are rehousing customers from the worst affected houses, however if people can continue to safely live in their homes, and are keen to stay put in their community, we’re encouraging that because we only have a limited number of homes available in Auckland,” she said.

“We’ll continually assess each individual situation to make sure the home is safe and healthy for them to live in until full repairs can be done, and will rehouse them if it turns out they can’t live well in that home.”

According to Kāinga Ora, 560 of its properties in the Auckland region were damaged during last month’s flooding.

Monte Cecilia Housing Trust chief executive Vicki Sykes said, with the number of people already on the national housing waiting list, Kāinga Ora clearly didn’t have the resources to meet demand.

Sykes said the trust had been approached by people affected by both events, but unless they were already on the housing waiting list most community housing providers couldn’t help.

But she said allowing state housing tenants to stay in flood affected properties was a real concern and highlighted the massive shortage of housing in the region.

Local democracy reporting

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