Affordable housing? Not in Cambridge
More people are being forced to leave Cambridge as the cost of accommodation, up to 70 per cent of a weekly wage, continues to escalate.
A look at the rental market showed three bedroom homes between $360 and $430 per week while a four bedroom home was around $550.
Cambridge Salvation Army Captain Karen Baker worked with families who could no longer afford rental accommo- dation. She said the high cost of housing loomed as a major problem for the town and it was a view shared by others working in Cambridge’s social services.
Baker recently worked with a person who had to move out of town because their rent had almost doubled.
‘‘We see people, including those who are working, paying almost 70 per cent of their income just on rent. There’s very little left for food and power. We’re helping people with food and other practical support while they get things sorted, but ultimately we need something to take the pressure off rents.’’
Cambridge Committee of Social Services acting chairperson, Julie Epps, said costs for rentals and to buy homes had increased exponentially over the past two years.
She said according to Age Concern’s research on Cambridge housing, the cost of owning an average house in the Waipa district had increased 59.4 per cent since 2014.
Renting a two bedroom flat increased by nearly 62 per cent and a three bedroom house by 34 per cent.
‘‘On average, a new home is built every day in Cambridge but none as social or affordable housing,’’ Epps said.
She was worried about the predicted increase in people moving into the district, as well as the elderly age group, on fixed incomes, who would not be able to meet market expectations.
‘‘Much gets made of population growth, but there was no mention of a council-backed pol- icy to ensure a suitable range of housing available. There is provision for new housing which is market driven for those who can afford to buy.’’
In its submission to the Waipa District Council 10-year plan, the committee asked the council to find more land for affordable and social housing development. The council responded and said it was aware of the concerns and was sympathetic. It would continue to work through options around affordable housing.