Joint transfer to Community Housing Provider
Friday 27 May 2016
Opportunity to include Housing New Zealand houses with Council’s pensioner units in joint transfer to Community Housing Provider
The Government has announced today that it will explore an opportunity to include approximately 250 Housing New Zealand properties and tenancies in the region with Horowhenua District Council’s pensioner housing units in a joint transfer to a Community Housing Provider.
The Council recently announced its plans to transfer its own 115 pensioner housing units to a Community Housing Provider.
Horowhenua District Mayor Brendan Duffy said he was pleased that the Government had decided to explore the proposal the Council had put to them to participate in a joint transfer, but that no decision had been made to proceed at this stage.
“There are a number of steps the Government needs to go through as part of this process, and no final decision as to whether a transfer might go ahead will be made until these are completed,” Mayor Duffy said.
“This includes the Government undertaking consultation with local iwi and hapu to fully assess their rights and interests over the Housing New Zealand properties.”
Mayor Duffy said that the Government will also undertake a process to prepare for market sounding with potential providers.
“These processes may take some time, but tenants and staff will be kept informed throughout.”
Mayor Duffy said that Council will continue to take a leadership role in advocating for and facilitating community housing in the Horowhenua District.
“We believe that all community housing in the District being managed by one Community Housing Provider will bring many benefits to existing and future tenants,” he said.
If the Government decided not to proceed with the transfer of Housing New Zealand properties and tenancies, Council would still proceed with seeking expressions of interest from Community Housing Providers for its own pensioner housing units.
“We must stress that this will not mean any major changes for tenants. As part of the condition of sale, any Community Housing Provider will be required to retain all properties as community housing for the district, and to ensure all existing tenancies enjoy the same terms and conditions of tenancy,” Mayor Duffy said.
Council’s decision in April followed a comprehensive review and public consultation on a proposal that it no longer provided pensioner housing as a core service.
Mayor Duffy said the level of housing need in the District will only grow over time and that the service currently being delivered by Council is not sustainable in the medium-to-long term without significant operational and capital expenditure being made.
“Central Government, through its social housing reform, no longer allows councils to access capital grant subsidies to develop and deliver new community housing; nor can they access subsidies to help make housing affordable for tenants.” he said.
“Plus, Community Housing Providers can offer much wider wrap-around social services such as meals, outings, social services and health-care, providing even more value to tenants. They are also in a better position than Council, or the private sector, to provide the specialist support required by some elderly tenants. Essentially, Community Housing Providers offer a very safe pair of hands.”