Community Housing Aotearoa applauds the Government for publishing a Public Housing Plan, but says the 6,400 funded units are far too few given the growing needs of over 10,500 applications on the social housing register.
Chief Executive Scott Figenshow says the Public Housing Plan, released today by Housing Minister Phil Twyford, disappoints in the small number of funded housing units.
“We are underwhelmed by the quantity desired by the Government as it will not put a dent in the genuine social housing demand, and it does not activate the capability of the community housing sector.
“Having said that, our expectations for this plan were low, because of the lack of investment allocated in the May budget. We want to see the Government significantly investing in this plan in Budget 2019, and we’ll be pushing the Government hard on that. There are currently over 5,000 homes in the community housing sector pipeline over the next two years, but that declines to less than 900 given the lack of available capital funding.”
Community Housing Aotearoa keenly awaits further information about expanding resources to get more New Zealanders into warm, dry, affordable homes.
“We understand looking after the ‘missing middle’ will be a focus of the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and we look forward to movement in that area.”
Scott Figenshow says the single biggest handicap for the community housing sector is the lack of upfront capital investment for new housing construction. As cited in the “Following the Money” reported released earlier this week from the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment, our production of lower quartile homes has dropped due a lack of direct capital investment over decades.
“This plan fails to provide that, so we expect this to be an issue that is remedied in future plans,” he says.
As the representative body for community housing providers, Community Housing Aotearoa is very pleased to see the views of providers reflected in the contracting framework in the new plan.
“The Government has listened to sector ideas and concerns and has adopted many of the proposed solutions. We hope this signals a permanent change in approach, one that the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development will make part of its organisational culture,” Scott Figenshow says.
It is also great to see a plan that is open across all of New Zealand, with the operating supplement and market rent now available in all parts of the country, he says.
“We have called for an open approach that lets providers bring proposals to Government as the opportunity arises, and we hope the new strategic partnering approach will deliver on that.”