Porirua needs social housing more than ever
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.