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Healthy Housing Project At A Glance

5 March 2001 Key facts


- Decent, affordable, healthy housing, particularly for low-income and at risk people and families is a Government commitment

- The past decade's state housing policies saw state rents rise 106% 1991-1999 (Statistics New Zealand, 1999) under market rents while inflation went up 12% and private rents rose 23%

- Around 13,000 state houses were also sold during this period: more than 2300 of them in Auckland.

- With rising rents and fewer houses available, many low-income families, particularly in South Auckland, tended to move in together in small, more affordable properties

- Since market rents were replaced with income related rents in December, 2000 turnover at Housing New Zealand properties has already dropped from 32% to 19%

- Under the new social allocation process: more than 2400 families with severe housing needs have been placed in state houses. Many had been living in shocking conditions for some time. Under the previous Government's allocation process those with serious needs were not prioritised: ability to pay was the sole requirement to get a state house.

- Educationalists are already reporting a drop in the number of children moving school regularly as their families shift often because of rising rents

- This initiative at Nissan Place, Onehunga, is part of Government's commitment to make decent, affordable housing available for low-income families

- Housing New Zealand’s Healthy Housing Programme is a joint venture with South Auckland Health, aimed at improving the health of the state tenants in South Auckland.

- Of particular concern is the incidence of meningococcal disease in this area.

- Auckland has a high occurrence of meningococcal disease and other similar diseases such as rheumatic fever and tuberculosis. Factors that contribute to the spread of these diseases include household crowding and social deprivation.

- This collaboration has identified specific priority areas within Auckland, particularly in Otara, Mangere and Onehunga.

- Housing New Zealand has now added different home design schemes into its property renewal programmes and is identifying demand for this type of property, initially in the three priority areas.

- Another objective is to raise community awareness of housing-related health issues. A variety of initiatives are planned in this area in conjunction with Auckland Healthcare, including tenant-focused education programmes and links to private sector landlords.

- A range of assessment tools have also been developed so that health practitioners and agencies can quickly assess a situation and refer any necessary follow-up action to the right agency to address.

- Today we are handing over the first property that has been upgraded under this programme to the family that will live in it.

- The former two-bedroom property at 3 Nissan Place has been transformed into a home with four bedrooms, an extra bathroom, extended living areas and a deck.

- The Vahai family are the new occupants of this house (from 1 March). The family, comprising four adults, three teenagers and a 10 year-old, was recently identified as living in seriously overcrowded conditions in a two-bedroom Housing New Zealand home nearby.

- Health professionals have assessed the modifications made to ensure they appropriately address the needs of the new tenants.

- Around 1000 further homes in Onehunga, Otara and Mangere, which will be targeted at specific households identified as being at serious risk of disease through overcrowding. Further modifications of this type will become an on-going feature of Housing New Zealand’s property renewal programme.

- This initiative ensures that the Government’s desire for comprehensive housing solutions for low-income and disadvantaged people will be met.

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