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Major makeover for social housing

Major makeover for social housing

From tomorrow selected community groups will be able to offer income related rents for people needing social housing and people will be able to test their eligibility through Work and Income.

“We are growing low cost housing by partnering with dedicated community groups that are providing the properties. We are also expanding income related rent subsidies beyond Housing New Zealand,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

Mrs Bennett and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today visited new Community Housing Provider Vision West to view one of the West Auckland homes that will now be rented with an income related rent subsidy.

“We have more than 5,500 people on the state house waiting list nationwide, nearly 1,200 of whom are in West Auckland. While Housing New Zealand has more than 3,000 properties in that area, new community housing is needed to meet the growing demand,” said Mrs Bennett.

“We’re also making it easier for people to go through the whole process. From tomorrow the Ministry of Social Development’s Work and Income and Seniors services will do more comprehensive assessments of people’s social needs, with housing included alongside employment, income and other social services,” says Mrs Bennett.

MSD’s new housing responsibilities include assessment, tenancy reviews, managing social housing providers, the waiting list, fraud investigation and debt recovery.

“MSD will also carry out reviewable tenancies from 1 July 2014 of approximately 800 state house tenancies in the first year, that are paying market rent or close to it. Those who can move out and move on will be encouraged and supported to do so.

“Tenancy review does not mean eviction. Each review will be done with careful consideration and take into account each person’s circumstances and living standards. It is all about the right home, for the right household, for the right time.

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says Housing New Zealand and community housing providers will continue to be responsible for tenancy management; buying, selling and developing properties; and maintenance and management of properties.

“This reform is the product of the April 2010 Home and Housed: A Vision of Social Housing New Zealand report. It enables a greater diversity of social providers other than just Housing New Zealand and improves the housing options for families in need,” Dr Smith says.

“We are making great progress in growing New Zealand’s community housing sector with 32 organisations registered with the Community Housing Regulatory Authority. This new Authority’s role is to ensure providers have good tenancy services, quality homes and prudent financial management.

“The government’s goal is for 20 per cent of the country’s social housing to be provided by non-government organisations by 2017.

“A good affordable house is the cornerstone in any family and thanks to these reforms more New Zealanders will now have that opportunity.” says Mrs Bennett.

Ends

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