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Community housing central to a fuller debate

Community Housing Aotearora

Media Release, Thursday 2 October 2008

*Community housing central to a fuller debate about 'housing affordability' ***

Community Housing Aotearoa, the umbrella organisation for non-government housing groups, fully supports the challenge issued today by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services today (NZCCSS) for politicians to address wider housing issues in their election campaigning.

"We support the NZCCSS view that housing issues have many layers and that our sector faces many different problems beyond questions about home ownership," says Thérèse Quinlivan, Director of Community Housing Aotearoa.

"As pointed out by NZCCSS today, housing is an area of public policy and public debate that cannot be separated from issues of social responsibility and basic human rights. Given the large numbers of New Zealanders reliant on the rental market, or who are constantly seeking safe and secure housing, or who experience unhealthy housing, we have to ask more questions about building a future approach to housing that will do a better job at housing our communities".

"To date the most comprehensive housing policy we have seen has come from the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. This policy recognises that community based housing can provide flexibility and diversity in housing provision and tenure. It also recognises that we won't be able to meet the needs of our diverse society if we don't do more to achieve a more diverse mix of housing options in the public and community housing sectors," says Thérèse Quinlivan.

"At Community Housing Aotearoa we are playing catch up to develop what is an underdeveloped part of the wider housing landscape compared to most other countries in the OECD and Commonwealth. Many New Zealanders have been brought up to believe that we live in a quarter-acre paradise, whereas the reality now is that we have to build the future of housing in a much more sustainable, much more community-facing way".

"We are advising our membership base of more than 150 community housing organisations - including organisations such as housing trusts and iwi authorities - to take this debate to all of the political candidates in their regions and to do what they can to raise awareness of the role that the community housing sector has to play in the future of housing in this country. During the election campaign we suggest politicians visit our member organisations to experience community housing first-hand. If they have not heard of Community Housing before we also encourage them to visit our website www.communityhousing.org.nz and to make direct contact with us," says Thérèse Quinlivan.

The theme Community Housing Aotearoa has chosen for its annual conference is 'Building the Future – Housing Our Communities'. This national event will be held two days after this year's election on 10-11 November in Wellington. The conference programme will include the release of a 'Strategy for New Zealand's Community Housing Sector'.


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