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More support from today to meet housing needs

More support from today to meet housing needs

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says people and families in need of social housing will be better supported by the Government’s investment of $95.7 million of new money over the next four years.

“We want to ensure those with a genuine social housing need are in the right house, for as long as they need it. Some people may simply need some extra assistance to access housing in the private market. This will free up social housing for people that really need it,” says Mrs Bennett.

New funding of $8 million will be available to support social housing tenants whose living standards have improved to take that next step to move into private housing. This help will also be available to people on the waitlist and people who have contacted the Ministry of Social Development about a housing need.

From today, this initiative will see a range of support available to social housing applicants and tenants who, with a little help, could manage in private accommodation. This includes:

· Bond grants to make it easier to get started in private rental accommodation.

· Assistance with the physical costs of moving.

· A letting fees loan for non-beneficiaries (people receiving a benefit can already get this)

· A one-off grant to support social housing tenants who voluntarily move into private housing.

· A loan to cover end-of-tenancy costs not covered by a bond, so tenants can assure landlords they are not a financial risk

· Providing good tenants with references from their social housing provider, that they can give to prospective landlords.

This new assistance will be available from 1 July 2014, and will be tested with households likely to sustain independent housing.

“Other important sector changes incudes the recent transfer of housing assessments from Housing New Zealand to the Ministry of Social Development with new funding of $80.7 million including $16.4 million of capital funding from the Future Investment Fund.

“This investment will allow the development of new IT systems, as well as support staffing and administrative requirements,” says Mrs Bennett.

From today, the Ministry of Social Development will begin to review tenancies of social housing tenants paying market rent or near market rent.

Budget 2014 provided $7 million, including $1.8 million of capital funding from the Future Investment Fund, to ensure that Ministry of Social Development has the resources to work individually with these tenants to fully understand all of their circumstances.

“Social housing is undergoing significant change to ensure we can support more people to move to private rental or home ownership and free up social housing for those people who need it for as long as they need it,” said Mrs Bennett.

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