Trust-Owned Property Owners Face Unexpected Barrier in Accessing Government Aid
Temporary Accommodation Assistance Package: A Ray of Hope
The Temporary Accommodation Assistance package, a government initiative, has been a beacon of hope for homeowners affected by the adverse summer storms, including the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle and the consequential flooding in Auckland. The package promises up to $610 per week to displaced homeowners to aid with rental costs, providing a lifeline during these challenging times.
Trust-Owned Properties: The Unexpected Barrier
However, an unexpected bureaucratic barrier has emerged, leaving a specific group of affected individuals without the much-needed support. The Temporary Accommodation Assistance package, as it currently stands, is only applicable to homeowners. This specificity excludes properties held in trusts, leaving the occupants of these trust-owned homes in a limbo.
Many of the affected individuals, including Luci Harrison of Parnell and Julie Armstrong of Northcote, have exhausted their insurance payments and are struggling to cover their rent costs. Despite their properties suffering the same damage as those of regular homeowners, their applications for the assistance package were denied due to the trust-owned status of their homes.
The Ministry of Social Development’s Standpoint
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has clarified its position on this matter. According to the MSD, the eligibility for the assistance payments hinges on the applicant being the homeowner of the damaged property. Since a trust is considered a separate legal entity under the law, the applicant displaced from a property owned by a trust is not deemed to be the homeowner.
However, such an interpretation is being contested by the residents. They argue that this overly technical interpretation fails to consider the reality of their situations, as they face the same hardships as regular homeowners.
Legislation Change: A Long Road Ahead
Addressing the concerns of the residents, the MSD stated that incorporating people with properties in trusts into the Temporary Accommodation Assistance package would necessitate legislative changes. However, such changes could take months, leaving these residents without immediate financial aid. The Cabinet is expected to review the policy settings by the end of the year.
Community Leaders Raise the Alarm
Meanwhile, local community leaders argue that hundreds of families are potentially missing out on the much-needed support due to this technicality. They contend that the government’s interpretation of “homeowner” denies financial assistance to individuals and families who are equally affected by the storms and flooding, highlighting an urgent need for policy review and possible legislative amendments.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.