Social housing test case leads to less jail time, more education for children

Jul 3, 2017 | News

Social investment – which uses an actuarial approach to determine the long-term liability of various social problems to then target spending to reduce that cost – is a central piece in the government’s goal to achieve more from a smaller public service. Yesterday, MSD released its first valuation of the social housing system, where it found that the lifetime housing cost of adults in social housing or on the social housing register was $16.4 billion, with roughly 85 percent of the cost relating to future income-related rent subsidy (IRRS) payments.

The SIU test case monitored about 22,000 people who applied for social housing between 2005 and 2006, 10,600 of whom were allocated a house. The research showed that those allocated a house spent less time in jail, saving an average of $1,244.20 per household or $13 million less spent out of the Corrections budget overall.

A similar number of households in both groups interacted with Corrections, with close numbers of community service and home detention sentences, but the number of remand and prison sentences was substantially smaller for the housed group.

Children who lived in social housing spent more time in education, leading to a 6 percent higher spend from the Education budget compared to the other group. Social housing tenants were more likely to access benefits, meaning a 4 percent increase in welfare spend, and earned less, leading to a $6 million reduction in tax paid on income.

“This could suggest social housing support presents a disincentive towards working, as it may result in a loss of advantages,” the SIU report says. “However, establishing there is a causal relationship would require further research.”

The report’s authors stressed that the test case highlights “the limitations of measuring social outcomes through a fiscal lens only and over a short period.”

“This is illustrated by the increased spend in education for social housing tenants,” the report says. “On a purely fiscal point, this has the effect of lowering the ROI. In reality, this may correspond to a better social outcome for children (better education resulting in a better employment rate), as well as a greater government revenue through taxes collected in the long-term.”

Overcoming this limitation would require going beyond a purely fiscal impact analysis, the report says, in order to “paint a far more accurate picture of the effective impact of social housing”. The Social Investment Analytical Layer (SIAL), created by SIU as part of this project, is there to “facilitate the monitoring of outcomes.”

Adams said it was important to apply a data-driven approach to decision making across all government agencies, saying she wants to make it a permanent way of making policy. The SIAL makes it faster and easier to get insights from data, and has already saved $1 million since its launch in May, she said.

The Social Investment Agency, which will launch on July 1, will be responsible for developing advice across social sector portfolios using data such as the SIU’s test case, Adams said.

“We can use the insights from this test case to calculate the fiscal return on investment for social housing and prove with hard data what we already intuitively know – that providing social housing helps New Zealanders to lead better lives.”

“We’re a government that wants fewer customers. Because the less people rely on government, the more independent they are,” Adams said. “We’ll do this, not through cutting public services, but by improving lives so people don’t need those services.”

Read the scoop article here.

You can access more information on the social housing test case within the Social Investment Unit here.

Recent articles

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 12 October 2021

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 12 October 2021

Message from Chief Executive, Fortnightly Sector Zoom Calls, Tenancy Management Community of Practice, Ngāti Toa Secures A Deal To Ensure High Quality, Healthy And Affordable Homes At Kenepuru Landing, More Progressive Home Ownership Opportunities for First Home...

Annual Report

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

Strategic Plan

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

Featured Network

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Our Place

Our Place 2017

Our Place 2017

Case Studies

Media Releases

The Shift Aotearoa conference 2021 issues papers released

Community Housing Aotearoa’s three pre-conference work programmes are kicking off next week with initial zoom meetings in the Narrative Transformation and Housing System Settings streams scheduled for Tuesday 26 January at 10AM and 1PM respectively. Issues papers to...

News

CHA Level 4 Guidance Document 8 September

CHA Level 4 Guidance Document 8 September Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) has put together this document to consolidate information, contacts, resources and advice to help you in your day to day service delivery and decision making. It will be updated as new...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) COVID-19 Update 26 August 2021

Message from CHA's Chief Executive, Productivity Commission Submission - Include Housing in the Terms of Reference, CHA's support for members, sharing ideas and issues, Ministry of Health information and advice, Government support for your organisation, important...

Newsletters

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 12 October 2021

Message from Chief Executive, Fortnightly Sector Zoom Calls, Tenancy Management Community of Practice, Ngāti Toa Secures A Deal To Ensure High Quality, Healthy And Affordable Homes At Kenepuru Landing, More Progressive Home Ownership Opportunities for First Home...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 4 October 2021

Message from Chief Executive, SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS, Be part of 'The Big Auckland Morning Tea Shout' for Auckland's frontline community workers, HUD launches new interactive housing dashboard, Submissions close tomorrow on new legislation for restricting terminations...

Submissions

Legislation

Reports

Te Whakaruruhau Report

The Te Whakaruruhau Report establishes the peak body services to the Homelessness Sector by Te Matapihi he Tirohanga mō te IwiTrust and Community Housing Aotearoa. The report can be found here: Te Whakaruruhau September 2020

Research

BRANZ research report on ‘exceeding the minimum’ released

This report looks at the question: why don’t landlords choose features that exceed the minimum building standards and what are the enablers to changing this? The aim is to identify the barriers to an improved rental stock and potential solutions to overcome the...

Community Housing Aotearoa

Contact Us

Contact Info

Level 11, Ranchhod Tower,
39 The Terrace /
102-112 Lambton Quay
PO Box 11543
Wellington 6142

+04 385 8722

support@communityhousing.org.nz

Follow On