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CHAI - Community Housing Aotearoa

Press Release for Immediate Use

20 September 2007

CHAI - Community Housing Aotearoa (Inc).

Anniversary of State Housing an ideal time to reflect on poor current state of affordable housing and need for new policies

This weeks celebration of the 70th Anniversary of State Housing in New Zealand should be a time to reflect on the poor current state of affordable housing, says Community Housing Aotearoa (CHAI), the umbrella organisation for the not-for-profit community housing sector.

“Rather than dwelling on past achievements, we believe that more should be done to ensure the current approach to housing policy is being strengthened for future years,” says Thérèse Quinlivan, CHAI Director.

“As highlighted by the Salvation Army’s report on affordable housing released last month it is apparent that levels of home ownership in New Zealand have fallen to the lowest levels in 50 years, and we need to be more aware of the implications and impact of changing patterns of housing and a real gap in housing provision”.

“CHAI strongly supports the content of the Salvation Army’s report, Re-building the Kiwi Dream, and the way in which it proposes a rekindled vision that housing can be a vehicle for positive social change, backed by the establishment of a New Zealand Housing Commission and a New Zealand Housing Fund,” says Thérèse Quinlivan.

“It is right that a Labour Government should be proud of its ‘inspired policy’ 70 years ago, but we would challenge whether there is sufficient commitment to policies for future generations and ask what’s happening now?”

“We know from the Salvation Army report that despite a push for more innovative programmes in the New Zealand Housing Strategy in 2005, the current Government has made a comparatively small contribution to investing in new state housing and needs to be challenged to ensure that housing policy development is given a higher priority”.

Andrew Wilson, Chair of CHAI, says that Community Housing or Third Sector Housing, as it is sometimes called, has an important contribution to make to addressing affordable housing issues. “A key point in raising the level of policy debate is that housing needs to be seen as more than just putting a roof over people’s heads. It just as much about how we, as a society, build neighbourhoods and communities,” says Andrew Wilson.

ENDS

• CHAI represents more than 140 community based housing organizations. See www.communityhousing.org.nz for details.

• The Salvation Army report, Re-building the Kiwi Dream, is available online at the following link: http://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/SITE_Default/news/20070827_KiwiDream.asp

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