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Major opportunity to expand social housing

Major opportunity to expand social housing

"Further improving the Government's housing reform programme requires clarity of vision, specificity on outcomes sought, a clear development pipeline, reduced bid costs and long-term certainty of revenue streams," says Stephen Selwood, CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

"That was the key message delivered to a who’s who of New Zealand’s assisted housing market Tuesday night in Auckland.

"The state housing model we pursued for many decades is not working. Assets are sitting under-utilised or are in poor condition and the people living in these often damp and badly configured homes have no pathway to housing independence.

"The Government, community housing associations, development community and housing investors all agree there is an opportunity to expand the supply of housing for those who cannot participate in the open market, while better meeting their housing needs.

"The ultimate goal is to deliver affordability to more people, and assist those who are ready to move from state dependence to independent living, but for that to occur, existing state housing tenants need support.

"That’s where the community housing sector can play a vital role. But in order to get community housing off the ground, the largely non-profit and consequently under-capitalised sector needs long term revenue certainty and its investment partners need a steady flow of opportunities in order to sustain a market.

"The Government has spent the last few years building up its capacity to oversee a growing community housing sector and there is a strong desire from housing providers that we quickly transition to a pipeline of development opportunities.

"For this to happen, there is a need for clarity of vision, clear and long term planning by government, reduced costs of bidding and, of greatest importance, certainty over revenue streams to provide investment confidence. This will release private capital to build more homes.

"Changing policies from one government to the next undermines the sustainability of social housing and the industry calls on all parties to build a consensus around the long term development of the community housing sector," Selwood says.


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