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Next phase for social housing takes shape

Next phase for social housing takes shape

The Government today announced the next step in delivering housing assistance to those most in need with reviewable tenancies for all social housing tenants.

In the first year this will apply to people currently paying market rents or close to market rents to see if they can move into and sustain a private rental.

About 800 reviews, commencing from 1 July 2014, are expected to be completed in the first year, out of approximately 68,000 state house tenancies.

“Social housing is being reformed so the sector is more responsive and diverse,’’ says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“Reviewable tenancies will ensure the right people are in the right house for the right duration.

“This Government is taking an innovative approach and we’re shifting the thinking around the delivery of social housing to better meet the needs of families and individuals,” says Mrs Bennett.

From 14 April 2014, the assessment of people’s housing needs transfers from Housing New Zealand (HNZ) to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

It is part of the housing reforms which also include extending income-related rent subsidies to community housing providers and integrating housing assessment with the Government’s wider social support services.

With reviewable tenancies, tenants will be reviewed by MSD to assess if they still have a need for a state house. If not, a plan will be developed to help them move, but only if there is a suitable property available.

“MSD may review a tenancy and find there is still a need for a state house. In those cases the tenants remain. But with the right support people could move into private rentals or another type of social housing,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Reviewing tenancies opens the possibility of getting more people and families who need social housing into properties. It’s about allocating the houses we have to those with the greatest need,’’ Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The move to reviewable tenancies is just part of the Government’s housing reforms. We are expanding the social housing sector by encouraging community organisations to become providers alongside Housing New Zealand. We also have a wide programme of work to improve the affordability of private sector housing by freeing up land supply, increasing competition in building materials, improving productivity in the building sector and constraining compliance costs,” says Dr Smith.

Reviewable tenancies were first introduced in 2011 and people who became HNZ tenants from July 2011 have been subject to a review. This will extend to all tenants from 1 July 2014.

As well as managing social housing assessments from 14 April 2014, MSD will also administer the income-related rent subsidy. HNZ will continue to be the landlord for state house tenants.


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