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Housing NZ changes worry the country's most vulnerable

Published: 6:50PM Sunday April 20, 2014 Source: ONE News

New rules around reviewing state house tenancy arrangements are worrying some of Housing New Zealand's most vulnerable clients.

The minister responsible for the new policy insists no state tenant will be left on the street but that hasn't eased the stress for some.

Housing NZ tenant Allyson Hamblett has cerebal palsey and her stress levels are rising after receiving a letter that says her tenancy will be reviewed next year.

"I know that there's a lot of disabled people in state housing that could be evicted by this," says Ms Hamblett

She has lived in her Ponsonby state house for 12 years and it was remodelled to give her easier access.

But now her tenancy will be reviewed under the government's new tenancies policy.

"I feel a bit stressed about it. It's a big change in housing policy."

The policy, which takes effect from July 1, is aimed at freeing up state houses for those who need them the most and it won't have exemptions for the elderly or disabled.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says a lot of money has been put into house accessibility and "we don't' see ourselves them moving on."

Ms Bennett insists people won't just be left out in the cold.

"We know that change is scary for some but I am very confident we can manage that well."

Right now those options haven't been explained clearly enough to keep Ms Hamblett and others with disabilities happy.

Green Party MP Holly Walker says it's going to be detrimental for some.

"I think Allyson's case and cases like it show the human face of the reviewable tenancies policy. I think it's going to be very detrimental for people with children, the elderly and for people with disabilities," says Ms Walker.

Allyson Hamblett has vowed to keep fighting to ensure disabled people have a safe, accessible house to live in.

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