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BUDGET 2001: New houses and rent relief

24 May 2001

New houses and rent relief for Community Housing

The community housing package in the budget will build at least 125 new houses and extend rent relief to cash-strapped community house tenants, Housing Ministers Mark Gosche and Tariana Turia announced today.

"We are continuing to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for some of our most vulnerable individuals and families," said Mr Gosche and MrsTuria.

"By working in partnership with communities we are seeking to build a stronger society and security for all New Zealanders."

There are currently more than 1,270 community houses nationwide such as emergency family houses, support housing for people with mental health needs and intellectual disabilities and women's refuges.

This year's budget includes a $19.5 million cash injection over four years that will enable Community Housing Ltd to boost stock numbers by at least 125 over the next four years.

The Government will also provide $4.5 million a year to help emergency and support housing groups who rent from Community Housing but who have difficulty meeting normal rent payments. This fund was introduced last December when $3 million was made available for the 2000-2001 year.

"Community housing provides shelter for families, those with intellectual, psychiatric and physical disabilities and others needing emergency support and safe refuge. Making sure housing is safe, affordable and secure is a priority for this Government," said Mr Gosche and Mrs Turia.


ENDS

Backgrounder

Rent Relief for Community Housing Tenant's

- Since December 2000, tenants in about 60% of Community Housing Limited’s more than 1,270 properties had applied for rent relief. Thirty eight per cent of all successful applicants offered support housing for people with mental health needs, 19% for people with intellectual disabilities, 17% for emergency family houses, and 12% of all applications were for women's refuges.

- For 2001, groups have been invited to apply for rent relief where they feel that their rental payments have a significant impact on the viability of their service in the community. Community Housing Ltd will assess each application against a criteria which takes into account existing rent levels, and reasons why organisations may be operating at a deficit.

- From 1 July 2001, the activities of Community Housing Ltd will become the responsibility of the new integrated housing agency, Housing New Zealand Corporation. Tenants and other clients of Community Housing Ltd can be assured that these changes will not lessen the Government’s commitment to working with community housing provider groups, and providing the highest possible levels of service.


ENDS

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