Approximately 60 people from the sector attended the event and listened to the Minister share her insights on the Social Housing Reform programme and reflect on her time as Social Housing Minister. The Minister said she believes there is a place for CHOs to be bigger where government doesn’t have capacity, acknowledging that CHOs have a better ability to work alongside tenants by providing wraparound services and support. She expressed her hopes for CHOs to have an easier ride, with more influence on policy, direction and keeping the focus on the tenants.
Some other points the Minister made were:
- CHOs need to build their financial autonomy
- If we don’t get the house right we can’t work on the complexities that cause long term dysfunction
- Willing to commit to some tenants long term with something along the lines of a ‘social contract’
- Have to be careful with mixed tenure developments, these need to be well thought out – we need to continually test ourselves about what is best for those that we serve and think about what it will look like in ten years
When questioned about the future of the proposed rental WOF, the Minister said it is still on the table and is currently being ‘argued out’. She personally thinks it will end up somewhere but they are exploring the unintended consequences which could negatively affect tenants if it were put in place. In response to a question about whether she thought there was a need for a housing strategy, she said to come back to her in 12 months as they still have questions to answer.
CHA Director Scott Figenshow and AHI Board Member Greg Orchard expressed gratitude to Minister Bennett and invited her to “turn on all the switches” to see the housing reforms work better for tenants and the community housing sector.