“There are now 8704 households on the waiting list for a state house, up from 7890, or 9 per cent, in the past three months. That’s up a massive 56 per cent increase on the same time last year and shows the extent the housing crisis is hurting New Zealanders,” he said.
“We expected the waiting list to grow as more of the hidden homeless – families living in overcrowded homes, people couch surfing and others living in substandard homes and unsustainable conditions – come forward for help.
“Our Government is doing everything possible to urgently increase the amount of public housing.
“An additional 229 transitional housing places have been made available since March, with a total of 2,341 places now tenanted or available for tenanting.
“We have also provided more than 1,000 of the 1,500 transitional, public and Housing First places we committed to bringing on board this winter, compared to the end of last year.”
Budget 2018 allocated more than $60 million in the internationally-acclaimed Housing First programme, to sustain its existing programmes and expand it into new cities across the country. Phil Twyford said this has allowed programmes in Christchurch and Tauranga to get up and running, and help the chronically homeless in those cities into permanent homes.
“While we focus on increasing the amount of housing, we are committed to supporting everyone who approaches us for help to find a warm, safe and dry place to stay.”
The Quarterly Report shows the Ministry of Social Development provided 9,245 Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants in three months to June, a 36 per cent increase from 6,138 at the end of the March quarter.
“I urge anyone who needs housing support to come forward to Work and Income, so we can help,” Phil Twyford said.
June Housing Quarterly Report at a glance:
• Housing Support – For the June 2018 quarter MSD invested $646.6 million on housing support, an increase of $75 million over the previous quarter reflecting the implementation of the Government’s Families Package. This year MSD will spend around $2.6 billion on providing New Zealanders with housing support.
• Winter Response 2018 – The Government has committed $37.1m in funding to bring on more than 1,500 additional Housing First, transitional and public housing places over winter 2018. At the end of June, more than 1,000 additional places have already been delivered.
• Public Housing Supply –The total number of public housing tenancies increased by 342 over the June 2018 quarter. There are currently 67,228 public houses which is an increase of 646 from the previous quarter (66,582). Of these, 61,800 state houses are provided by Housing New Zealand, and 5,428 community houses are provided by 31 registered Community Housing Providers across New Zealand, with average tenancy duration of 8 years and 7 months.
• Public Housing Demand This quarter the Social Housing Register increased by 9% over the previous quarter and is up 56% on the same time last year. In the June quarter Auckland, Wellington Metro and Christchurch combined applications on the Social Housing Register increased by 415 a while the rest of New Zealand increased by 479.
• Housing First – Housing First services are now being delivered to chronically homeless people in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch. As at 30 June 2018, 288 households have been placed into secure and stable accommodation in both the public housing and private housing sector.
• Transitional Housing – An additional 229 transitional housing places became available in the quarter, with a total of 2,341 places now tenanted or available for tenanting. MSD has a target of 2,155 long-term places, which could support 8,620 families each year, but has consciously exceeded the target during winter 2018 to ensure we have as much accommodation as possible available for those in need.
• Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant – The number of households granted an Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants (EH SNG) increased by 36% over the previous quarter reflecting the heightened demand for emergency accommodation as more people are coming to MSD for housing support through awareness of the Winter 2018 response.
Read the story on Scoop here.