Rental housing for older people
Housing in the Western Bay of Plenty over the next 30 years will be a big issue as we look to house an extra 66,000 people, according to Smartgrowth. Nationwide there are growing numbers of older people entering retirement with low equity. By 2030 in New Zealand renters aged 65 and over will total over 275,000 (97,000 in 2013 census) — a growth rate of over 8000 per annum.
A group of local people are looking to the future, proposing to build an Abbeyfield house in Katikati for 12-14 residents of the Western Bay of Plenty. Abbeyfield is a not-for-profit organisation that provides companionable supported rental housing for independent older people. No capital contribution is required and the rental cost includes an ensuite studio, meals provided by a cook and shared communal areas.
The Abbeyfield Katikati steering group was formed in May 2018 and consists of 10 local residents. The group wants to make the community aware that they want to build an Abbeyfield house here and are looking at funding models and suitable land. They are talking with Western Bay of Plenty District Council and others, but have not yet identified suitable land.
Abbeyfield NZ executive officer Susan Jenkins was in Katikati recently. She said there are already 13 Abbeyfield houses in New Zealand and Katikati was a target location for a new house.
Mrs Jenkins said National Superannuation has been designed for people who own their own homes, not renters.
“The country as a whole has a looming crisis of affordable, suitable housing against a backdrop of age. With this change in demographic, the need has become more urgent.”
It costs around $2.5- $3m, depending on the land costs, to build a house for 12 people. A typical mortgage that can be supported by one house is
$500,000. The average allinclusive rent for residents is around $367/week which includes all meals, electricity, heating, maintenance, local telephone and gardening. Residents are eligible for the Living Alone allowance and may qualify for the Accommodation Supplement.
Mrs Jenkins said Abbeyfield is making a case for access to cost-neutral capital funding from central government to cover half or more of the costs of construction of an additional 17 houses. Access to suitable land on peppercorn terms was also key to achieving growth. She said it was estimated that each house build saves DHBs up to
$4.5m in resthome subsidies over a 50-year house lifetime, due to delayed entry to residential care.
Mayor Garry Webber said Council is prepared to support this type of supported rental housing. Council has pockets of land available at market rates however the group needs to put together a business case and bring it to council “The building and the facility would have to be sustainable.”
He said in his eight years in Local Government he has seen a change in people’s housing needs. “Many are moving away from a four-bedroom home to village-style living and apartments.”
Council adopted its Housing Action Plan on October 18, which includes two actions that relate to assisted rentals.
Council’s senior policy analyst Jodie Rickard said Council is currently reviewing what land might be available and what options there are for development.
Council Officers have told the Abbeyfield Katikati steering group that they have not identified suitable land at this time.
More people are welcome to become involved and support this project. Contact Pauline on 549-2449.
Abbeyfield NZ executive officer Susan Jenkins with Katikati steering group members Pauline van Rijen and Ineke Riley, discuss progress on building an Abbeyfield rental home for older residents here.