Over 100 Aucklanders still displaced after last year's severe storms

Affected residents face issues related to insurance and repairs

Over 100 Aucklanders still displaced after last year's severe storms

Catastrophe & Flood

By Roxanne Libatique

Over 100 residents in Auckland are still in temporary accommodation provided by the government’s disaster relief service following last year’s severe storms.

According to RNZ’s report, 31 families are currently staying in hotel-apartments, and eight households reside in Kāinga Ora’s Te Matawai apartments in the city centre. This accounts for 118 individuals who have been in subsidised temporary housing for more than a year.

The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS), which provides subsidised rental housing for those rendered homeless by emergencies and experiencing financial hardship, reported that these households are waiting for home repairs, insurance payouts, or council categorisation of their property.

Struggles facing flood-impacted Aucklanders

Lyall Carter, chair of West Auckland Is Flooding, an independent group of flood-impacted residents advocating for fair and sustainable solutions to flood risks, highlighted the ongoing plight of these families.

“These 39 families are a reminder that we can’t leave anyone behind, and I’m not suggesting that we are but the more that time goes on the longer they’re stuck in uncertainty,” he said, as reported by RNZ. “That just adds to a feeling of anxiety when they’re almost nomads in their own city.

“We know that the best scenario is for people to be back in their communities if they’re able to be, to lessen the strain on families in the midst of a cost of living crisis.”

Tasha Gray, a Piha resident whose home was purchased by the government after the storms, emphasised the anxiety of waiting to return home.

“You feel incredibly unstable; so many things are unknown while you’re going through that categorisation process. I think maybe they might have kids in school, they might have a routine, and maybe the best thing to be is in one place. Perhaps they don’t feel like they have any other choices,” she told RNZ. “It’s really hard to find a rental in Auckland, too. I suspect being up against the rental market is one big reason as well.”

An estimated 1,000 Aucklanders are still displaced, many living with family, and 200 receiving accommodation grants not linked to TAS.

TAS issues advice for flood-impacted Aucklanders

TAS national manager Al Bruce said all those housed in Auckland apartments, including hotels, can stay until they secure affordable housing.

“TAS can continue to support households as long as they are working toward returning to the property they were displaced from,” he said, as reported by RNZ. “Although TAS does not collate statistics on why households still require TAS support, TAS can confirm the most common reasons for Auckland households include waiting for repairs to be completed, insurance payouts to be granted, and finalisation of the council land categorisation process.”

This month, the government extended the Temporary Accommodation Assistance (TAA) to further support homeowners displaced by extreme weather events that occurred in 2022 and 2023.

Homeowners awaiting council decisions on flood-damaged properties

Auckland homeowners who registered their flood-damaged properties with Auckland Council’s storm categorisation programme are still awaiting news on their properties’ future.

The council's property categorisation system includes homes safe to live in (Category One), homes needing repairs and flood protection (Category Two), and homes to be bought out and likely demolished (Category Three).

Homeowners have until September to complete the council’s flooding and landslide registration form for a free assessment.

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