Making stand for homeless

Clare Curran in her protest camp in the Octagon, Dunedin, yesterday morning, in support of two...
Clare Curran in her protest camp in the Octagon, Dunedin, yesterday morning, in support of two young mothers without a home. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Moral  judgements are not all that helpful when deciding who gets a house, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran says.

"The bottom line is people need somewhere to live''.

Since Sunday night Ms Curran has been camping in the Octagon to protest against the Ministry of Social Development's treatment of homeless Dunedin mothers Kylie Taggart (30) and Amy Stuart (25). She said she planned to stay in the Octagon until both women had a place to live.

The ministry appeared to blame the women for their predicament in a public statement, and the women told the Otago Daily Times they felt harassed and belittled by welfare staff.

After their story was published yesterday, some people on social media criticised the pair because of perceptions about life choices.

Ms Curran said those arguments were irrelevant. The Government was paying for expensive emergency accommodation in motels for the women, which made no sense for the taxpayer. They wouldn't pay forever, "so what are their options?''

The ministry had suggested the women had to pay back the money due to claimed antisocial behaviour, but, Ms Curran said, doing that would only get the women into debt.

The women deny any suggestion of antisocial behaviour and said neither one was in a relationship.

"The whole thing about being a single parent is the fathers aren't directly in the picture,'' Ms Curran said.

She said she was approached by up to 60 people yesterday in the Octagon, none of whom had said anything negative about

the two mothers.

However, while the Otago Daily Times was visiting the campsite, about 6pm, Ms Curran spoke to a man who said the women did not deserve any more help.

Ms Curran tried to explain the issue was systemic, rather than moral.

"My position is people have histories, they've got pasts ... but people still need a house, especially when they've got kids.''

The ministry declined to comment further yesterday.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

How noble of Clare to do this. Perhaps she might also like to give the mentioned young ladies the opportunity to move into her home whilst she is camped out on this stunt? That way she can save the taxpayer some cash too. No?- why am I not surprised?.