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New research confirms government housing policy

New research confirms government housing policy

Research published today by the Centre for Housing Research Kainga Tipu on housing issues for older people confirms the direction of government policy.

The report, Accommodation Options for Older People in New Zealand, looks at housing issues for those aged 65 and over and identifies their current and likely future housing needs.

Housing Minister Steve Maharey said the report findings confirms that the Government is on track to meet the housing needs of older people.

“Housing is a fundamental issue for all New Zealanders, but it assumes much more importance as people age because the elderly are usually on fixed incomes and are much less able to move than the rest of the population.

“The report’s findings are in line with our plans to meet the housing challenge posed by New Zealand’s ageing population. It also raises a number of issues addressed in the development of the New Zealand Housing Strategy.

“Not all those aged over 65 need housing assistance – many don’t. For those who do, there is a shared response: about 12,000 older New Zealanders live in state houses, many others in about 14,000 local government tenancies.”

The government is working on a variety of fronts to ensure older people get to spend their final years in quality, affordable housing. Initiatives include: the Housing New Zealand Corporation’s (HNZC) mainstream activities to make it easier for older tenants to stay on in the same home or community. For example, modernising homes to make them warmer and easier to maintain, and reconfiguring housing stock to offer smaller, more manageable homes to older tenants; partnerships with local government and voluntary agencies to increase the amount of housing specifically designed to meet the needs of older people on low incomes. New housing projects for older people from Abbeyfield House, Hamilton; Lutheran Homes, Palmerston North and Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust, Rotorua were recently approved through the government’s Housing Innovation Fund; acquisition by HNZC of homes that better meet older people’s needs. Of the 1,054 new homes to be acquired by HNZC this year, half will be one or two-bedroom properties and will be particularly suitable for older people on the waiting list.

. . / 2 “Older people of modest means can also access income-related rents, leaving more in the pocket each week for healthcare and other costs. The average weekly rent saving for those aged over 65 in a state house is $35 per week.

“As a significant number of state house tenants increase in frailty, the Corporation will continue to work with health and social services, to ensure older people will be able to access the home based support services they require to age in place.

“As for the longer term, the New Zealand Housing Strategy – to be released later this year – will discuss the future housing of older people to meet anticipated demand and diversity,” Steve Maharey said.

Accommodation Options for Older People in New Zealand has been posted to Steve Maharey’s website at www.beehive.govt.nz/maharey

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