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Hundreds helped into housing independence

Hundreds helped into housing independence

The Government has granted nearly $2.5 million in assistance to help people move from social housing to sustainable private housing, freeing up places for those who need it most, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

Housing Support Products (HSPs) were introduced in July, 2014, to help people achieve independence by moving into the private housing market and to remain in it. Since then, 1954 HSPs worth a total of $2.44 million have been granted.

HSPs, as well as tenancy reviews which were introduced at the same time, are working well to ensure that social housing is reserved for those who need it most.

“If people are able to support themselves, with assistance in some cases, in the private housing market the social housing register will be smaller and there will be more social housing for vulnerable families and those in critical need,” Mrs Bennett says.

HSPs include bond grants, letting fees and moving assistance, rent in advance and tenancy costs cover. Some grants are recoverable but others do not have to be paid back.

“We have completed more than 3000 tenancy reviews since they were introduced. More than 800 have moved into alternative accommodation and, I am proud to say, another 120 have bought their own homes. This has freed up more than 900 social houses for other people,” Mrs Bennett says.

“The Government is acutely aware of the New Zealanders who need more support, from emergency accommodation through to permanent housing. It is not right that people live on the street, in cars, garages and overcrowded homes.

“The Government feels very strongly the responsibility to make sure we are meeting the needs of our most vulnerable. We have already identified the issues and we are getting on with our comprehensive housing plan,” Mrs Bennett says.

In the past three months alone the Government has:
· Finalised contracts for more than 3000 emergency places a year
· Announced the redevelopment of 300 existing Housing New Zealand properties into about 1200 new homes in Northcote, Auckland
· Announced the development of Education land in Otahuhu, Auckland, for 51 homes for families on the social housing register
· Announced plans for modular housing on three Auckland sites
· Granted hundreds of special needs grants for people who need emergency accommodation
· Announced an extra $24.4 million for community housing providers in Auckland, on top of $120.1 million already announced to help more community housing providers grow their stock and to offer tenancy management and wraparound services.
· Announced $9 million for two innovative ways community organisations can help people into housing and sustain tenancies.
· Housed an average of close to 160 people a week
· Acquired an average of 15 houses a week, 14 of them new builds, through HNZ and community housing providers
· Given financial assistance to dozens of people who wanted to move out of Auckland but couldn’t afford to.

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