August 31, 2016
Community housing groups ready to help homeless people
New Zealand needs to put roofs over the heads of the growing number of homeless people now – not in 25 years, says Community Housing Aotearoa.
And CEO Scott Figenshow is calling on the Government to introduce capital funding so community housing providers can get on with building much needed homes.
CHA, the peak body for New Zealand’s
community housing sector that provides emergency, social and
affordable housing throughout New Zealand, will present
their submission to the cross-party inquiry into
homelessness on Monday.
Scott Figenshow says New Zealand is facing a crisis and solutions are needed now.
“With a 25% increase in the severely housing deprived, half of whom are either studying or working, it’s clear that we need to be increasing the number of affordable permanent homes in our communities.“
Research released last week by University of Otago showed that more than half of all homeless adults in New Zealand are working or studying, and half of these are under the age of 25 years.
He says the Government needs to move with speed and adopt an agile approach.
“Government has proved it can be done and it’s been done before – investing a three year capital (equity) fund of $143 million that community housing providers committed into 890 houses, all within eighteen months. It’s time to do that again- and on an even larger scale.”
Community housing providers are ready and waiting to build, he says.
“Providers are wasting precious time and resources filling out forms to obtain funding that just isn’t there. The pipeline of new supply is shrinking for lack of capital. Procurement processes are letting us all down, and the highly touted social investment approach isn’t yet delivering.
“Government appear to be at a crossroads – if we don’t commit now to the long term fix of additional affordable housing supply, we’ll keep needing to put more money into more ambulances. That’s not sustainable.”
Scott Figenshow says the recent $41M of funding for emergency housing plus the $9M for Better Housing Outcomes has been well received. However, these injections are correcting long-standing funding gaps.
“We need to look longer term for permanent capital and services funding as well as the income related rent subsidy. That would signal a step-change, one that should actually lead us all out of the quagmire,” he says.