State houses taken off market
‘‘There's a huge need out there’’
Housing New Zealand has pulled the plug on selling 23 state houses in Porirua in response to the growing waiting lists for social housing in the city.
A further seven properties - vacant due to being earthquake prone - were returned to the letting pool after strengthening work was completed, meaning 30 more homes for the city.
Porirua woman Marlenna, last name withheld, recently moved into a three-bedroom house that was previously on the market and she was delighted.
She only needed two bedrooms and it was difficult to access, but it got plenty of sun and was great for her and her child, she said.
‘‘The walk up is a pain, but I’m more than grateful to have a home. It’s perfect.’’
Housing NZ spokeswoman Cassandra Rivers said that since the end of August it had put 40 North Island properties earmarked for sale back in the letting pool - either to meet demand from the social housing register or to make them available for emergency housing.
The houses may not be perfectly suited to the tenant’s needs, but the first priority was to meet demand, Rivers said.
However, demand for houses also had to be balanced with the decision to sell properties that weren’t the right type or were uneconomic to maintain.
The return of the houses was welcome news, Waitangirua Wes- ley Community Action manager Liz Makalio said.
‘‘It’s wonderful they’re freeing up homes, but there’s a huge need out there,’’ she said.
‘‘We see it every day in our mahi [work], people come in here and they just have nowhere to go. These are the people sleeping under bridges and in public toilets.’’
Salvation Army senior policy analyst Alan Johnson said the sale of state houses was fundamentally wrong.
‘‘State houses should have a stronger, not lesser, role in the provision of social housing in New Zealand.’’
BY THE NUMBERS
As at September 30, there are 5770 people nationwide on the social housing register, 154 from Porirua.
2483 on the register are Maori, 1408 New Zealand European, 805 Pasifika.
2457 want a one-bedroom home, 1919 two bedrooms, 844 three, 427 four and 123 five or more.
Housing NZ own 64,000 properties.
There are 2690 state houses in Porirua.