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Temporary accommodation to meet need

Temporary accommodation to meet need

Offers of accommodation to those made homeless by February's earthquake are currently outstripping demand in Christchurch.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says staff from Housing New Zealand (HNZ) and the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) are working around the clock, collating offers of emergency accommodation and finding shelter for those made homeless by the earthquake.

"HNZ, as part of its civil defence response is assessing emergency housing need, matching people with existing housing supplies and supporting communities to run their own accommodation services.

"DBH is working closely with Civil Defence and Christchurch City Council and is taking the lead in sourcing and procuring additional housing and land supply," Mr Heatley says.

"Currently offers of existing accommodation made to the 0800 HELP 00 outweigh demand. As of yesterday HNZ had more than 2000 offers of accommodation and 552 people requiring emergency housing.

"However we believe demand will increase significantly in the coming weeks and months as people return to Canterbury and as rebuilding begins," says Mr Heatley.

"A coordinated response and an action plan has been developed that will be rolled out as demand increases. DBH is working to secure a range of emergency, short-term and longer-term accommodation.

"In the short term, people will require access to suitable alternative accommodation that is self contained," says Mr Heatley.

"Temporary housing must be highly portable and easily erected, with self-contained sewerage and waste systems. Independent units with dedicated cooking and laundry facilities are preferable," he said.

As a first step DBH has identified and held campervans and mobile-homes. The first two sites that could be used for the placement of this temporary accommodation are the Canterbury Park A&P Showgrounds and the Riccarton Race Course.

The first campervans and mobile homes can be moved on site once essential services such as a water supply are put in place.

Rental charges will apply to this housing, but grants are in place to help people who are struggling to meet costs.

"Following September's earthquake a number of sites with access to amenities were identified. DBH will continue to assess the suitability of these sites for the provision of temporary and longer-term housing solutions including specialized portacabins and temporary modular housing.

"DBH will revisit land identified as suitable post September's earthquake and confirm it has not been adversely affected by liquefaction or other damage, so that temporary accommodation can be put in place as and when it is required," said Mr Heatley.

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