Ex­ten­sions for state houses

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

A pro­gramme to make state houses the right fit for fam­i­lies is un­der way.

Hous­ing New Zealand’s Pro­ject 324&5 will see 2000 three-bed­room houses con­verted into four and five bed­room homes over the next two years.

The pro­ject is ex­pected to cost up to $260 mil­lion.

Chang­ing fam­ily de­mo­graph­ics mean there is an over sup­ply of three-bed­room state houses around the coun­try and a short­age of four and five-bed­room homes.

Twenty houses around Auck­land are be­ing con­verted as part of a pilot pro­gramme be­fore the main work can get un­der way next month.

Last week hous­ing min­is­ter Nick Smith vis­ited a pilot house in Mt Roskill that is be­ing ex­tended from three bed­rooms to six.

The con­ver­sion to six bed­rooms is ex­cep­tional.

The home will go to a fam­ily of 11 who were pre­vi­ously liv­ing in a three-bed­room home with a child suf­fer­ing from rheumatic fever – a con­di­tion which spreads eas­ily in over­crowded liv­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

‘‘Adding an ex­tra one or two bed­rooms to th­ese properties will bet­ter meet ten­ants’ needs in re­la­tion to size, lo­ca­tion and amenity, but it will also re­sult in less over­crowd­ing and bet­ter health and ed­u­ca­tion out­comes,’’ Mr Smith says.

The ex­tended homes are also be­ing mod­ernised and up­graded in­clud­ing work to in­su­la­tion and fenc­ing.

Liv­ing spa­ces and kitchens are also be­ing ex­panded.

‘‘It’s not just about clamp­ing on an­other bed­room. It’s very im­por­tant that we give them a safe, healthy, liv­ing space,’’ Maun­gakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga says.

The houses to be con­verted are all 40 years old or over.

Newer homes would be more ex­pen­sive to re-con­fig­ure and gen­er­ally aren’t on big enough sec­tions.

A sec­ond ini­tia­tive will see 500 two-bed­room houses built on large Hous­ing New Zealand properties around Auck­land in the next two years at a cost of $117 mil­lion.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Spread­ing out: Hous­ing New Zealand cap­i­tal projects and as­set de­vel­op­ment group pro­gramme man­ager Rick Kerse, Maun­gakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga, and Min­is­ter of Hous­ing Nick Smith get a look at a state house in Mt Roskill be­ing ex­tended as part of Pro­ject 324&5.

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