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Seeking expressions of interest for community housing

Media Release: Tuesday 22 November 2016

Horowhenua District Council to continue with seeking expressions of interest for community housing

Horowhenua District Council will continue to seek expressions of interest from registered Community Housing Providers for its pensioner units in Levin, Foxton and Shannon.

Council expects there will be an announcement in regards to the procurement process early next year.

Council’s 115 units are all currently occupied. In February, tenants were informed of the proposal prior to the month-long public consultation starting, and they have been kept informed throughout the process.

Council’s decision to sell its community housing units to a Community Housing Provider follows a comprehensive review and public consultation on the proposal that it no longer provides pensioner housing as a core service. The review identified that the most sustainable way forward to deliver pensioner housing in Horowhenua was to transfer the stock and the responsibility to a Community Housing Provider that had the focus and resources to respond to the various social housing needs that the District may have over time. This is still the case, despite the Government deciding not to proceed with their proposal to transfer the ownership and management of Housing New Zealand properties and tenancies in Horowhenua.

Chief Executive David Clapperton said the level of housing need in Horowhenua is far greater than Council 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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Mr Clapperton said 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.

“Therefore, the existing rights and benefits of Council’s community housing tenants will not change. In fact, they should improve, as there are advantages to be gained from a change of ownership to a Community Housing Provider. For example, they are in a better position than Council, or the private sector, to connect tenants to the specialist support required by some elderly tenants,” he said.

“Community Housing Providers can offer a focused response to the housing needs of the community, not just pensioner housing, which is important as the housing needs of community are diverse.”

Mr Clapperton said that Council, through its policies and regulations, will continue its leadership role, and advocate for and help facilitate the supply of community housing in Horowhenua District.

“Council wants to ensure that community housing in Horowhenua remains accessible and affordable, and is also connected to services that enhance social connectedness and wellbeing.”

ENDS

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