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EOIs sought for Council’s pensioner housing stock

Expressions of Interest sought for Council’s pensioner housing stock

Expressions of interest will be sought from Community Housing Providers keen to purchase Horowhenua District Council’s 115 pensioner housing units.

Council met today to deliberate and make its decision, following a comprehensive review and public consultation on a proposal that it no longer provides pensioner housing as a core service.

Horowhenua District Mayor Brendan Duffy says a written condition of any sale and purchase agreement is that all properties will be retained as community housing for the district, ensuring existing tenants can stay in their units. Another condition will ensure the same or better level of service that Council is currently providing tenants with.

“The review identified that the most sustainable way forward for delivering pensioner housing in Horowhenua is to transfer the stock and the responsibility to a Community Housing Provider that has the focus and resources to respond to the various social housing needs that our District may have over time.”

Mayor Duffy says that through its policies and regulations the Council will continue its leadership role, and advocate for and help facilitate the supply of community housing.

“We want to ensure that community housing in Horowhenua remains accessible and affordable, and is also connected to services that enhance social connectedness and wellbeing,” he said.

“However, the level of housing need in the community is far greater than we can deliver and will only grow over time. The service currently being delivered by Council is not sustainable in the medium-to-long term without significant operational and capital expenditure being made.”

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Mayor Duffy says that Central Government, through its social housing reform, no longer allows councils to access capital grant subsidies to develop and deliver new community housing; nor can they access subsidies to help make housing affordable for tenants. Only registered community housing providers have the ability to access these subsidies.

“The existing rights and benefits of our tenants will not change. In fact, we hope they will improve, as there are advantages to be gained from a change of ownership to a Community Housing Provider. For instance, comparing current rents to what qualifying community housing tenants are entitled to under the Income Related Rent Subsidy offered by Government to Community Housing Providers, some tenants could be up to $61 per week better off,” he said.

“Plus, Community Housing Providers can offer much wider wrap-around social services such as meals, outings, social services and health-care, providing even more value to tenants. They are also in a better position than Council, or the private sector, to provide the specialist support required by some elderly tenants. Essentially, Community Housing Providers offer a very safe pair of hands.”

ENDS

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