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IHC says action needed to remove barriers

IHC says action needed to remove barriers to community living

Covenants which prevent the provision of housing for people with an intellectual disability must be prohibited, IHC told the Local Government and Environment select committee today.

The committee is currently considering the Affordable Housing: Enabling Territorial Authorities Bill, that includes provisions aimed at making such restrictive covenants void.

"IHC has experienced major problems in the last five year finding suitable sites to develop housing or purchasing homes for use by people with an intellectual disability" IHC General Manager of Properties Andrew Wilson said.

This problem has been exacerbated by the registration of covenants on certificates of title that prevent proprietors from using their property to house people with health or disability support needs or from selling the property to an entity that wishes to use the property for housing people with these needs.

"Such covenants are now commonplace in parts of the country" Andrew Wilson said.

Once ownership of the adjacent properties that benefit from the right to enforce the provisions of such covenants is in multiple hands, it is extremely difficult and costly to take legal action on grounds of breach of Human Rights legislation.

"IHC supports the overall objectives of the Bill but believes that it must be strengthened to prohibit practices that discriminate against people with a disability who wish to live an ordinary life in the community."

IHC New Zealand Incorporated (IHC) is the country's largest provider of housing outside of government and local government. It manages 870 housing units which are spread throughout the country and accommodate close on 3,000 people with intellectual disabilities. IHC owns 75% of its housing stock and rents the remainder (mainly from the private sector). IHC's service provision subsidiary (IDEA Services Ltd) also provides support for a further 725 people so that they can live in their own rented or owned homes.


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