State houses taken off mar­ket

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

‘‘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.

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