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Greater need for ChCh social housing - Report

Greater need for social housing identified in Council report

An ageing population, falling home ownership and continually increasing market rents are expected to significantly contribute to a greater need for social housing in Christchurch, according to a City Council report.

The City Council’s Draft Social Housing Strategy, just released for public consultation, says the Council needs to take a key leadership role in the provision and facilitation of social housing in the city.

Under the draft Strategy, a strong emphasis will be placed on developing partnerships, working in collaboration with key stakeholders to ensure both the provision of housing and tenant support services, says Council Community Support Manager Catherine McDonald.

“These partners are identified as the Government and its agencies, Non-Government Organisations, not-for-profit groups, charitable trusts and the private sector. These partnerships will focus on maintaining, and where possible, expanding the supply of social housing in Christchurch.”

She says the draft Strategy reaffirms the Council’s commitment to providing safe, accessible and affordable housing for people on low incomes, including older people and those with disabilities.

“Housing is a key through which to influence the social and economic well-being of our community.”

Christchurch City Council was a pioneer of social housing in New Zealand, building its first 16 pensioner units in Barnett Avenue in 1938.

Today, the Council has 2651 units at 119 complexes and is New Zealand’s second largest provider of affordable social housing. The Housing New Zealand Corporation is the largest provider with 5452 units in Christchurch.

The draft Strategy provides a framework for the Council to forecast the likely demand and geographical locations for social housing during the next two decades.

Mrs McDonald says the Council’s greatest challenges are managing the increasingly complex housing needs of applicants, the compatible placement of tenants with varying backgrounds, ages and levels of health and well-being within the same complexes, and co-ordination with other social housing providers and services.

“Historically, Council housing has focused on the needs of older people, and more recently those with disabilities. However, the impact of deinstitutionalisation during the last decade has seen the tenancy mix within the portfolio change significantly.”

She says a another challenge facing the Council is its ageing housing stock, 50 per cent having been built between 1973 and 1980.

“The Mortality of New Zealand’s Housing Stock has identified that 50 per cent of buildings built will need to be replaced or demolished by the time they reach 90 years of age. This means the Council’s housing stock faces substantial replacement from 2060 to 2075.

“This remains a major challenge for the Council in managing the Council’s self-funding social housing portfolio.”

Submissions on the Draft Social Housing Strategy close on 22 December. The full report and submission forms are available online at www.ccc.govt.nz/HaveYourSay/. A public discussion document will be available from libraries and service centres early next week.

ends

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