New homes may not be enough

CHB Mail - - News - BY CLIN­TON LLEWELLYN

News that Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay is to re­ceive 10 new Hous­ing NZ prop­er­ties has been wel­comed as a “good start”, but ques­tions re­main if they are enough to solve the dis­trict’s so­cial hous­ing short­age.

Hous­ing and ur­ban devel­op­ment min­is­ter Phil Twyford vis­ited Napier late last month to an­nounce the lo­ca­tions of the 6400 new pub­lic houses his Labour-led coali­tion Govern­ment in­tends to build un­der its $4 bil­lion Pub­lic Hous­ing Plan.

Twyford an­nounced that 330 will be built in the East Coast re­gion, which in­cludes Hawke’s Bay. In ad­di­tion to the 49 state houses al­ready be­ing built in Napier and Hast­ings, an­other 186 would be built in the two ci­ties over the next four years, he said, while Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay would be­come home to 10 new prop­er­ties.

Scott Gal­lacher, deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of hous­ing with the Min­istry of So­cial Devel­op­ment, said the new CHB prop­er­ties would be five 3-bed­room homes and five 1-bed­room homes.

“In ad­di­tion to that, we are also ac­tively work­ing with lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions to make some tran­si­tional hous­ing avail­able in Waipuku­rau. This will give lo­cal fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als a safe place to stay when they find them­selves with nowhere to live. Tran­si­tional hous­ing also in­cludes sup­port ser­vices to help peo­ple find a longer-term home,” he said.

The ex­tra hous­ing and sup­port would make a dif­fer­ence for those at the “hard end” of the hous­ing short­age, but there was “a lot more to be done to meet de­mand for pub­lic hous­ing”, he said.

Labour Party List MP and ju­nior whip Kieran McAnulty, was “per­son­ally stoked” at the an­nounce­ment, which he said recog­nised the hous­ing cri­sis was no longer “just a city is­sue.”

“Peo­ple mov­ing from the ci­ties into our re­gion is a good thing and some­thing we wel­come and cel­e­brate. How­ever it has put pres­sure on the hous­ing stock, par­tic­u­larly as the num­ber of rentals avail­able is only just meet­ing de­mand — in some ar­eas it isn’t meet­ing de­mand.

“I’m per­son­ally stoked at this an­nounce­ment. I’ve been lob­by­ing hard for this is­sue on be­half of CHB and it’s great to see that the dis­trict is no longer be­ing over­looked by Govern­ment. So I’m very pleased — it’s a good start.”

CHB Dis­trict Coun­cil is cur­rently de­vel­op­ing a new strat­egy to ad­dress the so­cial hous­ing chal­lenges fac­ing the dis­trict, and ear­lier this year wrote to Hous­ing NZ and the Min­istry for So­cial Devel­op­ment about the is­sue.

The let­ter was prompted after a meet­ing late last year be­tween coun­cil and groups in the sec­tor, fol­low­ing a CHB Mail ar­ti­cle last July about a teenage cou­ple who were forced to move into an old con­verted wool­shed with their 6-day­old baby in the midst of the worse storm of the year, due to a lack of emer­gency hous­ing.

An MSD spokesper­son said all 34 of its prop­er­ties were full at the time and the depart­ment had no plans to ac­quire any more, de­spite youth ser­vices work­ers say­ing there was a need for more so­cial hous­ing in the dis­trict.

Dis­trict coun­cil­lor Kelly An­nand, coun­cil’s com­mu­nity devel­op­ment com­mit­tee chair­woman, said she was ex­cited by the news and grate­ful the depart­ment had lis­tened to the needs of the com­mu­nity.

“I be­lieve it was a re­sult of lead­er­ship and ad­vo­cacy from our com­mu­nity that got us on the radar, which is en­cour­ag­ing that it works,” she said.

It was now up to the com­mu­nity to work with cen­tral govern­ment to en­sure the 10 new prop­er­ties were al­lo­cated to those “who they were meant to serve.”

“I would like to see a work­ing and ad­vi­sory group set up and fa­cil­i­tated by coun­cil, so that cen­tral govern­ment agen­cies have a place to land their con­ver­sa­tions and get ad­vice from com­mu­nity. I hon­estly don’t know if 10 is enough, how­ever any new houses that … en­sure af­ford­able home se­cu­rity for peo­ple who need it the most, will have a positive flow-on ef­fect,” An­nand said.

PHOTO: FILE

Phil Twyford an­nounced his Labour-led coali­tion Govern­ment’s new $4 bil­lion pub­lic hous­ing plan on Au­gust 24 at the home of Stephanie Belcher in Ta­matea, Napier, along with Labour MPs Meka Whaitiri and Stu­art Nash.

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