Marae could be the solution to homeless in NZ
Aotearoa New Zealand is facing a housing shortage and many homeless in the cities and for the first time in my life I am hearing about the working poor and families sleeping in cars and on the streets.
One marae in Auckland, Puea marae has opened its doors to up to 60 people. At the time of writing this the media had reported that there were a few families who had taken up the short term offer.
Many marae are set up to cater for large amounts of people to visit, eat and stay on the marae for short to medium periods of time. This is what makes marae ideal in emergency situations such as the Christchurch earthquakes of 2011 where marae were used to shelter and feed people whose homes were inhabitable. Another marae was turned into a court building.
Traditional Maori life was communal and food was harvested form the land and the ocean and by barter. All of the marae I have visited have large areas of land in addition to large amounts of whanau owned land.
I cannot see why some urban marae could not establish themselves to cater to homeless families and individuals. WINZ is reported to pay for homeless people to stay in hotels which is costly both financially and perhaps to tourism in New Zealand as the government is telling us that we New Zealand has a shortage of hotel rooms to cater for tourists.
My understanding is that the majority of the homeless receive some sort of income and there are some families who have working adults but their income cannot meet the raising rents in some cities.
A marae could take in homeless families and working poor and charge them a cost recovery scheme. Have all of the intake of homeless people agree to be self-sufficient with communal cooking, cleaning general safety for everyone.
A vege garden could be planted for food and redistribution to food banks, and gathering of traditional kai from the ocean and other places could be done to reduce grocery bills. Also, trade with neighbouring marae and Iwi of food products and resources as was traditionally the case.
The gardens and lessons learnt will assist future Maori communities to become more self efficient and indoctrinate better and more healthier options for your whanau who may stray and negative become statistics.
The marae could then seek financial assistance from WINZ and other government agencies.
For safety reasons, vet and drug tests for all adults. Maybe criminal checks too.