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Maharey launches new social housing funding

Maharey launches new social housing funding

Housing Minister Steve Maharey opened a workshop in Palmerston North this afternoon about the $63 million now available to community groups and local government for social housing initiatives.

The workshop is one of 11 being held around the country to introduce the Housing Innovation Fund for third sector groups (not-for-profit, non-government community and Maori organisations) and the Local Government Housing Fund. The funding is available over the next four years to encourage third sector groups and local government to increase their involvement in providing rental housing and home ownership opportunities to low-income earners and those with special needs over the next four years.

Steve Maharey said demand for social housing is increasing and the funding will enable a wider range of organisations to become involved in meeting these needs.

“To effectively meet New Zealand’s housing challenges the government wants to work more closely in partnership with churches, the community, local government and others. We know that many non-government organisations want to get involved in social housing and the two new funds will support them to do so.

“Through the Housing Innovation Fund capital funding, grants and low interest loans for demonstration projects will be available for partnerships between Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) and community groups to buy, build or modify rental accommodation and to develop affordable home ownership opportunities.

“Funding will be specifically targeted at initiatives for low to moderate income households whose housing needs are not being met by the private housing market. Examples include applicants on HNZC waiting lists in Auckland who because of their priority are unlikely to be offered a state house, people with disabilities, and iwi/Maori and Pacific peoples.

“Feasibility and establishment grants to help community groups meet some of the costs of developing new proposals and access specialist help will also be available. HNZC will also support the development of a third sector representative group to support and represent community-based housing providers.

“The objective of the Local Government Housing Fund is to encourage councils to keep and expand their existing rental housing stock. Funding will be in the form of interest-free suspensory loans for acquisitions, modernisations and reconfigurations.

“We want to encourage councils to think outside the square and be innovative in finding new ways to develop social housing initiatives. For example by collaborating with other councils in their region and with local community-based organisations.

“The objective of both funds is to ensure existing social housing stock is retained and that new ideas and innovations are explored to find the right housing solutions for local communities,” Steve Maharey said.

Eleven workshops are being held on the funds over September and October in Christchurch (24 September), Dunedin (25 September), Auckland (8 October), Whangarei (9 October), Whakatane (14 October), Porirua (17 October), Hamilton (22 October), Nelson (24 October), Napier (30 October) and Gisborne (31 October).

An information pack on the Housing Innovation Fund or Local Government Housing Fund is available by phoning 0800 833 755 or on-line at www.hnzc.govt.nz.

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