Porirua needs so­cial hous­ing more than ever

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS -

Porirua needs more homes, but we need them to be in good nick too. This news­pa­per has heard its fair share of sto­ries of ten­ants in Hous­ing New Zealand homes and pri­vate ones hav­ing bad ex­pe­ri­ences.

Damp, mouldy, bad­lyven­ti­lated houses and this time of year brings it all home to roost.

The new laws that come in on July 1, en­sur­ing all land­lords in­stall work­ing smoke alarms and in­su­la­tion in their prop­er­ties, goes some way to­wards al­le­vi­at­ing a dire prob­lem but won’t be any­where close to the end of it.

Late last year we spoke to Solomon Esera, who was con­cerned about his friends miss­ing out on ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties grow­ing up, be­cause they were sick all the time.

Then last week, we spoke to the Ryans, in As­cot Park, who lived in a musty, mildew-filled home. Two chil­dren, aged 1 and 3, visit reg­u­larly, and it is their health they are most con­cerned for.

Fre­quent scrub­bing and clean­ing and the wip­ing away of con­den­sa­tion is no match for the cold and damp that per­vades so many prop­er­ties in our city.

The east­ern side of Porirua has among the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of state hous­ing in the coun­try.

There are a num­ber of new and well-ren­o­vated homes, but much of the stock should not be oc­cu­pied and oth­ers re­main empty even though there are peo­ple on wait­ing lists.

In the Cas­tor loop, Hazard Gr and Esk Place, the worst build­ings have been pulled down – to be re­placed with noth­ing.

Empty land is not achiev­ing any­thing and no so­cial hous­ing providers are com­ing for­ward to build any­thing. As we were told last week – ‘‘we [Hous­ing New Zealand] are con­sid­er­ing op­tions in the Cas­tor loop’’ but ‘‘there has been no ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est’’ to build.

Rob Spero is in­ter­ested, but not to build so­cial hous­ing.

He told us he has a lot of money at his dis­posal, but is not a char­ity.

Herein lies the dilemma. Do we, as tax­pay­ers, want to see the land built on, even if the homes are pri­vate?

Spero said the homes would be in keep­ing with the com­mu­nity there, but were not strictly so­cial hous­ing.

When it comes to the of­fer from a pri­vate de­vel­oper, how­ever, it is easy to un­der­stand Hous­ing New Zealand’s ret­i­cence to take his calls.

This is land where so­cial hous­ing once stood – and should stand again.

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