New Zealand: A Place to Call Home | 101 East

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New Zealand is in the grip of a housing crisis.

The capital city, Auckland, has become one of the most unaffordable cities in the world, ranked just behind Sydney, Australia.

The average house now costs more than one million New Zealand dollars ($600,000), inequality is rife, and the most vulnerable people are being pushed into desperate situations.

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP), a volunteer-led organisation, helps people apply for emergency housing grants.

Some of the families they work with cannot afford to buy food after paying the rent.

“They cannot afford to cover those basic costs,” says Ricardo, from AAAP.

“The majority of people we work with are being squeezed out of the rental market. They can barely afford the weekly rent or may be homeless.”

Veeka lives in a tiny public house with her family of eight. She says her children feel ashamed of their cramped living conditions.

“When people come, they run and hide in the room,” says Veeka, who has been on a waiting list for a larger house for three years.

Auckland may be ground zero for the housing crisis, but the problem is now spreading, and small towns are straining to cope with the homeless.

101 East meets the families struggling to put a roof over their heads, and the man helping the homeless become homeowners.

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