Council looks for housing solutions
With no current plans by theMinistry of Social Development or Housing NZ to purchase any further properties in the district, CHB District Council says it is embarking on a project to find solutions to the social housing ‘challenges’ facing CHB.
In late 2017 ameeting was called about social housing availability in CHB in response to a CHB Mail article last July, about a teenage couple who were forced tomove into an old converted woolshed with their 6-dayold baby in themidst of the worse storm of the year due to a lack of emergency housing.
Asubsequent meeting of councillors and those working in the sector sought to clarify the council’s role in providing social housing.
Council already provides a significant proportion of social housing stock in the districtwith their 48 pensioner flats, but councillors resolved to create a Social Housing Strategy as part of its recent 2018-28 long term plan.
The purpose of the strategy is to identify issues and opportunities to address local challenges for social housing in the community, including council’s current role, said council’s community development committee chairwoman, Kelly Annand.
She said a strong focus of the strategy will be on delivering timely social housing outcomes for the whole CHB community.
“As community leaders, this project gets right to the heart of addressing social housing issues for our most vulnerable.
“We need to be clear what actions will actually provide constructive and sustainable solutions.”
Mayor Alex Walker was pleased that her council was able to step into the breach where Government agencies had been unable to meet community needs.
“MSD and HousingNZ do not have any clear intention to expand social housing stock in our community— but we can see there is a gap that needs to be addressed.
“It is great that we have been able to step up and do something to find solutions.”
To be delivered in two phases, the first stage of the project includes council working alongside central Government and key agencies to fully understand the challenges and opportunities for social housing in CHB.
Council’s role in delivering social housing, including the strategic direction of its current retirement housing portfolio, will also be included in the strategy.
The second phase is implementing the Strategy with clear timelines and accountabilities in delivering successful social housing outcomes.
Council expects a draft strategy to be available for public consultation by early 2019.
The CHB Mail headline from last July.