Building houses to tackle the crisis

May 17, 2018 | News

“Too many New Zealanders are hurting because of the housing crisis. Many are locked out of the Kiwi dream of home ownership. Others are homeless or suffering the health effects of poor-quality housing,” says Phil Twyford.

“The single most important thing the Government can do to solve the housing crisis is to build more affordable homes. The best way to tackle homelessness is to build more public housing.

“Our plan increases public housing by 6,400 homes over the next four years – 1,600 a year. This means that Budget 2018 exceeds our earlier commitment to build at least 1,000 State houses each year,” says Phil Twyford.

The new public housing will be built through a combination of:
• $234.4 million in operating funding from Budget 2018
• Housing New Zealand borrowing up to $2.9 billion from third parties and investing a further $900 million from its operations.

“This combination of borrowing and internal funding by Housing New Zealand began under the former Government to fund the Auckland Housing Programme, and is now being expanded to allow Housing New Zealand to provide additional public housing places.

“These Budget 2018 announcements are on top of the $2.1 billion committed in the December 2017 mini-Budget as capital and operating funding for the KiwiBuild programme and to set up the Housing Commission.

“The Government is also providing $300.0 million capital for the Tāmaki Regeneration Company to contribute to building 1,400 more houses and 700 new public housing units in that development.”

Over the next four years the Government will also:
• increase funding to allow Tenancy Services to continue delivering current services – $33.6 million operating funding
• implement and monitor the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017 and collect data on housing quality – $14.6 million operating and $0.5 million capital funding
• increase transitional housing* by more than 200 places to reach a target of 2,155 places to serve up to 34,000 families over four years – $68.9 million in capital in 2018/19 and $101.0 million in operating funding over the four years
• fund frontline Ministry of Social Development housing services – $30 million operating funding
• market rent top-up funding for Community Group Housing* – $13.7 million operating funding.

Earlier this month, the Coalition Government announced further support for the Housing First* programme.

“We are investing an additional $20.5 million operating funding over the next four years to provide services for the more than 900 households currently in Housing First. This serves the most disadvantaged homeless people in Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington and Lower Hutt,” says Associate Housing and Urban Development Minister Jenny Salesa.

“We’re also expanding the successful Housing First programme to a further 550 households in other regions of high need.” The expansion of Housing First is from an additional $43.9 million in operating funding over four years.

“The Coalition Government is taking responsibility for fixing the housing crisis,” says Phil Twyford.

“The register of households waiting for public housing – now at 7,890 plus 1,805 waiting for transfers to a more suitable public house – shows how much work needs to be done and how far backwards we went over the last decade.

“While the Government and community housing providers work to resolve the housing crisis over the coming years by building more houses, transitional housing and other measures will support those who urgently need housing in the meantime,” Phil Twyford says.

Note to editors:

Public housing is targeted at households who cannot access or sustain a tenancy in the private rental market for a range of reasons. Public houses are owned or leased by Housing New Zealand or by registered Community Housing Providers. Most tenants in public housing pay income-related rent, which limits their rent to no more than 25 per cent of their net income. This rental payment is topped up to the market rent by the Ministry of Social Development’s Income-Related Rent Subsidy.

Transitional housing provides short-term housing for up to 12 weeks for people with immediate housing needs, along with support to help them find long-term homes. Transitional housing places are managed by specialist providers who are skilled in providing social support services, tenancy-related support and managing properties and tenancies.

Housing First is a highly successful, internationally proven way to house and support chronically homeless people or those who are homeless with multiple, complex needs. Housing First finds housing for a person without readiness conditions such as psychiatric treatment or sobriety. It also provides wraparound support and services, for as long as needed, to help them stay housed and improve their lives.

Community Group Housing is a Housing New Zealand service that provides suitable properties for community organisations to house and support people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities; provide residential alcohol and drug services; provide women refuge from family violence; provide emergency housing and housing for at-risk youth and for prisoner reintegration.

Read this story on Scoop here.

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