Funds for 6400 homes

The Press - - National News -

The Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ting to build­ing at least 6400 new state and so­cial homes over the next four years, in Bud­get 2018.

That is 600 more homes each year than the 1000 promised dur­ing the elec­tion – but be­low the

2000-a-year Hous­ing Min­is­ter Phil Twyford told me­dia he was fight­ing for. It will bring the to­tal num­ber of homes to just un­der

73,000 by 2022.

Along with $234 mil­lion of new fund­ing, Hous­ing NZ will bor­row

$2.9 bil­lion to meet this pledge, and in­vest $900m from its own oper­a­tions.

As of late March, 7890 el­i­gi­ble house­holds were wait­ing an average of 64 days for a pub­lic house. Most ten­ants in pub­lic hous­ing pay an in­come-re­lated rent, which lim­its the to­tal rent to a quar­ter of their in­come.

Twyford’s cen­tre­piece hous­ing pol­icy is Ki­wiBuild, which was funded $2.1b in the Gov­ern­ment’s mini-Bud­get in De­cem­ber.

Bud­get 2018 also in­cludes an ex­tra $33.6m over four years for Te­nancy Ser­vices to keep its cur­rent oper­a­tions run­ning smoothly.

An­other $170m will be spent over four years in­creas­ing ‘‘tran­si­tional hous­ing’’, which pro­vides short-term hous­ing for peo­ple with im­me­di­ate need.

This is ex­pected to add a fur­ther 200 places.

The En­ergy and Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity will re­ceive $142.5m for a new scheme to help lower-in­come owne­roc­cu­pied house­holds in­su­late and warm their homes.

Just over $15m will be spent on im­ple­ment­ing and mon­i­tor­ing the Healthy Homes Guar­an­tees Act,

This sets min­i­mum stan­dards for ten­an­cies’ in­su­la­tion and warmth.

The Min­istry of So­cial Devel­op­ment will also get a fur­ther

$30m over the next four years to fund its front­line hous­ing ser­vices, while Hous­ing NZ’s Com­mu­nity Group Hous­ing ser­vice for higher-need clients will get a

$13.7m top-up.

‘‘These Bud­get 2018 an­nounce­ments are on top of the $2.1b com­mit­ted in the De­cem­ber 2017 mini-Bud­get as cap­i­tal and op­er­at­ing fund­ing for the Ki­wiBuild pro­gramme and to set up the Hous­ing Com­mis­sion,’’ Twyford said.

‘‘The sin­gle most im­por­tant thing the Gov­ern­ment can do to solve the hous­ing cri­sis is to build more af­ford­able homes.

‘‘The best way to tackle homelessness is to build more pub­lic hous­ing.’’

Soon after com­ing to Gov­ern­ment Twyford ended what he called the ‘‘state home sell off’’.

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