The latest statistics on damp houses highlight the need for permanent, affordable homes that are warm, dry and good to live in – and available to all New Zealanders, says Scott Figenshow, Chief Executive of Community Housing Aotearoa.
He was commenting on findings released by Statistics New Zealand that more than a third of Māori and Pacific people were living in damp housing at the time of the 2018 census (https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/more-than-1-in-3-maori-and-pacific-people-live-in-a-damp-house and https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/416997/one-in-three-maori-pasifika-living-in-damp-housing-census-data-shows).
“No family should have to live with water dripping down the walls or their children getting sick every winter because of mould and damp,” says Mr Figenshow. “We need well-built homes that don’t make us sick.”
He noted the arguments put forward by Green Building Council Chief Executive Andrew Eagles for greater investment in insulation (https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/-6b-annual-cost-tolerating-damp-mouldy-homes-in-nz-outweighs-price-insulate-them-advocate), and said the country’s community housing providers are committed to providing good quality homes for people in housing need. Earlier this year a number of housing providers took part in a webinar organised with the Green Building Council to learn more about the Homestar and HomeFit initiatives to ensure houses are warm, healthy and efficient.
“Our sector is focused on making a real difference in people’s lives so that means providing homes that are good to live in,” says Mr Figenshow.
Mr Figenshow says the community housing sector has begun identifying ‘shovel-ready’ housing projects. It has already identified 79 housing developments across 15 regions, totalling 2911 homes with a total development cost of $1 billion – and there will be many more waiting to be counted.
“If we can ramp up the number of dry, well-built permanent, affordable homes available to all New Zealanders – whether rented or owned - then we will start to make inroads into the statistics on damp, mould and the adverse health consequences for our future generations.
“As a sector, community housing providers are ready to develop even more good homes where families will be able to thrive.”