New Zealand’s representative organisation for the not-for-profit housing sector, Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA), is encouraged by yesterday’s announcement of the allocation of the Government’s $37.35 million social housing fund, but also notes the recent conclusion of the Productivity Commission that this is “well short of what is needed”.
“We are particularly heartened by the fact that the organisations who are being funded reflect an appropriate mix of community housing providers from within the membership of Community Housing Aotearoa, though we are well aware of plenty of groups serving areas where the local housing need is equally high who missed out due to the small and fragmented nature of the fund,” says David McCartney, Executive Officer of Community Housing Aotearoa.
“The majority of recipient organisations across the different allocations agreed for Growth, Niche, Maori and Rural providers so far, are in Auckland which is sensible given the severity of the affordable housing crisis in that region. However, the fact remains that applications for this round of part-funding exceeded the available dollar-for-dollar subsidy by more than $130 million and even conservative estimates indicate the potential for $340 million of new social housing.
“The frustration within the community housing sector is that many commercially valid and socially needed housing projects remain untapped and we have a concern that there has been no sector-wide input as yet into the pending Social Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) to ensure that those opportunities and needs are put into the plan.
” To keep the ball rolling towards meeting the huge demand for community housing will require an increased proportion of contribution from the crown – whether by way of monetary grant, freeing up land , transfer of state housing assets or tacking the current housing subsidy imbalance as recommended by the Productivity Commission.
“Finally, we look forward to the announcement of the allocation of the remainder of this financial year’s social housing fund, the bulk of which is $2.3 million of the Maori fund and $2 million set aside for Canterbury.”