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Christchurch short-term housing response underway

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Housing

15 March 2015 Media Statement
Christchurch short-term housing response underway

Vulnerable families and single people in need of housing in Christchurch will be better supported by a new short-term housing service, says Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.

The Government is working with two community housing providers, Comcare and VisionWest, who will provide short-term accommodation alongside support services for up to 30 households at a time.

“The earthquakes and subsequent housing shortage have left some people living in desperate circumstances. Doing nothing is not an option, and this innovative solution will support some of Christchurch’s most vulnerable people and families,” says Mrs Bennett.

“This service will focus on people who are living in garages, tents, cars or other insecure housing, who will also benefit from intensive social support to help them get back on their feet.”

Comcare began services earlier this month for up to 10 single people in properties across Christchurch, and from this week VisionWest will begin providing services for up to 20 families at a time at a leased motel complex.

People will be housed for an average period of eight weeks, while providers work with them to develop plans to help them move into longer-term housing, such as social housing or a private rental.

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Providers will also link people with services to help them address issues holding them back, which could include drug or alcohol counselling, mental health support, budgeting or parenting support.

“This is a smart response to an ongoing issue in Christchurch and will be available alongside current emergency accommodation, like the City Mission, and social housing provided by Housing New Zealand and community housing providers,” says Mrs Bennett.

“It’s a solution made possible by community housing providers on the ground willing to make a difference, and through the Government recognising a new way of doing things was needed to relieve housing pressure in Christchurch.”

The housing response is expected to be in place for two years, and comes as Housing New Zealand continues its impressive repair and rebuild programme in Christchurch, and as the Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme gets underway to deliver more social housing for people in need.

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