For immediate release
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Issued on the Authority of Major Campbell Roberts (Territorial Secretary for Social Programme)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory
Stimulus package a good start in tackling housing shortage.
The Salvation Army welcomes the additional spending on state housing announced by the Government today, describing it as a good start in tackling the housing shortage and improving tenants' quality of life.
This initiative starts to address one of the social needs identified in the recent Salvation Army's State of the Nation report Into Troubled Waters. The report identified a shortage of 2500 houses in Auckland, including a deficit of 1200 houses in Manukau City.
Salvation Army social policy spokesman Major Campbell Roberts says while the announcement of planned construction of an additional 69 houses nationwide will not solve the problem, the stimulus package is a welcome first step in improving and expanding public housing stock. "It is a real opportunity for New Zealand to come out of this recession with a significant improvement in how low-income people are housed.
“We still see significant number of people accessing Salvation Army social services whose housing is unhealthy, overcrowded and expensive,” he said. The government’s pledge to renovate and upgrade an additional 10,000 state houses will mean the improved health status of tenants and the downstream positive effects on their children’s education and household incomes, he added.
While achieving better housing outcomes the Government’s package will also go some way to minimise the loss of skills from the construction trades as the recession claims more sector jobs.