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Christchurch's Housing Needs Examined

Christchurch has an ongoing demand for special-needs accommodation, particularly of suitable quality, cost and size to meet future needs.

This is revealed in a special report on housing demands and needs in Christchurch commissioned by a joint committee of the City Council's Housing Working Party and Housing New Zealand.

The report was prepared by Professor David Thorns and Simon Campbell of the University of Canterbury's Sociology Department.

The joint committee has decided that the City Council and Housing New Zealand will share information on plans to meet housing needs and future housing strategies.

Cr. Carole Anderton, chairwoman of the Christchurch City Council 's Community Services Committee, and Mr. Michael Lennon, Housing New Zealand Chief Executive, said that findings from the research reinforced the need for central and local government to work in partnership to ensure housing resources were used effectively.

They believe there are long-term benefits to be gained from working jointly on complimentary housing strategies to ensure that those in most need are catered for.

The research findings show a need for smaller and highly functional dwellings to cater for an ageing population.

People with special needs who require tailored housing solutions are also identified.

Declining rates of home ownership - within the 18-30 age group are also noted as a factor that will impact on the rental market.

Cr. Anderton and Mr. Lennon said that the City Council and Housing New Zealand would respond by looking at potential ventures to meet special housing needs, particularly around the inner city.

The organisations will also combine forces to ensure future plans and operating objectives that deal with meeting housing needs in Christchurch are aligned.

Cr. Anderton and Mr. Lennon believe that the partnership can take a major and exciting step forward.

Aside from specific ventures to meet special needs, there are opportunities to share information on the profile of the public rental housing portfolio and to look collectively at addressing demand from waiting lists held separately by the Christchurch City Council and Housing New Zealand.

Both organisations are keen to develop initiatives to help low-income people into home ownership as part of a broader housing strategy. Further work is still required in this area.

Cr. Anderton and Mr. Lennon welcomed the report as an important step forward on meeting the housing needs of "Christchurch's most vulnerable citizens."


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