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Delivering KiwiBuild with community housing sector partners

29 November 2017

Delivering KiwiBuild with community housing sector partners

Community housing providers are committed to make the changes necessary in their organisations to be able to deliver their part of 1000 homes a year of social and affordable housing as part of the Government’s KiwiBuild target.

Leaders from 17 different organisations representing social, affordable and emergency housing, met to confirm their commitments to innovative change to meet these targets.

Convened by Community Housing Aotearoa, the Getting Ready Project was facilitated by Leonie Freeman, Housing Strategist, with Kay Saville-Smith from CRESA as the ‘critical friend’ on research evidence.

“We worked out how we can help achieve the KiwiBuild goals and make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring,” says Scott Figenshow, CEO of Community Housing Aotearoa.

“Providers are universally committed to this approach to ending homelessness,” says Scott. “It drives their commitment to doing business very differently than has been able to be done in the past.”

There are three key components that the leaders agreed to jointly work on:

The first is centralised purchasing at scale. Leaders agreed to utilize a procurement structure that would access significant prefabrication capability by using a common floorplan book, with agreed pricing, to drive up quality and keep costs low, still offering ‘mass customisation’ within agreed parameters.

“Providers want to commit to a pipeline of at least 15,000 units over a set of years, making the purchasing agreement available to any registered community housing provider.

“This means letting go of a small degree of modification in exchange for group benefits.”

Treating the land differently is the second component.

“We already have the legal and organisational structures developed that hold land by community housing trusts ensuring we retain affordability long-term. Scaling up means looking at additional tools for delivering both affordable rental and ownership options.”

The third area is capital. Community Housing providers back a Housing Impact Fund that will bring socially responsible private capital to work alongside government capital and conventional debt, as essential to activate the efficiencies available through centralised purchasing.

“This would facilitate both the shared home ownership and rent-to-buy opportunities New Zealanders need, as well as deliver affordable and social rentals.”

“Community housing providers can achieve the production scale needed when they use capital and treat land differently, activating capacity to deliver enough great quality affordable homes and build strong communities,” says Ms Freeman.

“There is a package of tools that work together and they are ready to put this in place with skilled, knowledgeable and experienced leaders like those that have come forward,” she says.

“We will be working with our colleagues at MBIE and MSD on the work the sector is doing, and sort out the details of this unique offer for KiwiBuild – to complement what the government is doing,” Scott Figenshow says.

Both Leonie Freeman and Scott Figenshow say that the community housing sector can offer:

retention of affordability, through their not-for-profit, Community Housing Regulatory Authority registered, trust and charitable company structures
high quality tenancy management, caring for the household and the community
a continuum of affordability options, tailored to the household need – whether social rental, affordable rental, shared ownership, rent-to-buy and good quality, well maintained homes that perform well above the minimum standards

“What we can offer is a parallel system that can be scaled up to deliver around 40% of the overall KiwiBuild targets and would work well alongside a Housing New Zealand that would deliver the other 60% of supply,” says Scott Figenshow.

“This is a story about activating all available capacity. Our largest housing prefabriaction facilities are only running one shift per day. With long-term central purchasing, we can create the incentives to increase that production and manage costs effectively.”

The organisations that have participated in the Getting Ready Project so far are:

Accessible Properties Limited
Community Housing Trust
CORT Community Housing
De Paul House
Emerge Aotearoa
Habitat for Humanity Auckland
Independent Māori Statutory Board
LinkPeople
Monte Cecilia Housing Trust
NZ Housing Foundation
Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust
Pathway
Penina Health
Tauranga Community Housing Trust
The Bishop’s Action Foundation & Catalyst Housing
The Salvation Army Social Housing
Trust House Limited

Ends

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