Stepping up the social housing

HELPING THE HOMELESS: Social Housing Minister Amy Adams, Philippa Davies of Te Whare Tu Wahine, Gisborne Women’s Refuge, and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley visit the new emergency housing complex in Gladstone Road. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

THE 16 units at the former Eastland Motor Lodge are among 2150 transitional housing places that will be created around the country by the end of the year, Minister of Social Housing, Amy Adams said in Gisborne yesterday.

Ms Adams visited the complex with Social Development Minister and local MP Anne Tolley.

The former motel was bought by the Government in June for emergency housing.

Mrs Tolley said the complex had been renovated and residents did not have to bring anything except their personal belongings.

Ms Adams said transitional housing showed the Government was committed to helping homeless New Zealanders find a home.

People could stay for 12 weeks.

That resulted in 10,000 people homed each year.

Ms Adams said the transitional housing places were not merely a case of providing housing for 12 weeks, then having to find other accommodation.

She was excited by the “wrap-around services” available such as health, social, budgeting and literacy services.

Broad based and intensive services

The services were broad-based and intensive, and as important as “the roof over your head”.

Residents were not thrown out after 12 weeks if they had nowhere to go.

Ms Adams said most went on to social or private housing, with some previously hindered in finding accommodation by issues such as drugs, alcohol and/or debt.

Another programme — Housing First — was aimed at the long-term hard core homeless.

They were people who lived in cars or on the street.

The 2013 census showed there were 4000 such people in New Zakand, but Ms Adams conceded that number was likely to have since increased.

Some of the people involved in the programme had been homeless for 24 to 33 years.

There were 500 places available in Auckland and the Government would fund another 500 elsewhere in New Zealand.

Ms Adams said 95 percent of Housing First residents had stayed off the streets.

That was an indication of remarkable success, given that mental health issues and drug abuse was common.

Many of the would-be residents were initially reluctant to work with social agencies.

Relationships and trust had to be built.

The Government would build another 6500 social houses over the next three years,’’ said Ms Adams.

THE 16 units at the former Eastland Motor Lodge are among 2150 transitional housing places that will be created around the country by the end of the year, Minister of Social Housing, Amy Adams said in Gisborne yesterday.

Ms Adams visited the complex with Social Development Minister and local MP Anne Tolley.

The former motel was bought by the Government in June for emergency housing.

Mrs Tolley said the complex had been renovated and residents did not have to bring anything except their personal belongings.

Ms Adams said transitional housing showed the Government was committed to helping homeless New Zealanders find a home.

People could stay for 12 weeks.

That resulted in 10,000 people homed each year.

Ms Adams said the transitional housing places were not merely a case of providing housing for 12 weeks, then having to find other accommodation.

She was excited by the “wrap-around services” available such as health, social, budgeting and literacy services.

Broad based and intensive services

The services were broad-based and intensive, and as important as “the roof over your head”.

Residents were not thrown out after 12 weeks if they had nowhere to go.

Ms Adams said most went on to social or private housing, with some previously hindered in finding accommodation by issues such as drugs, alcohol and/or debt.

Another programme — Housing First — was aimed at the long-term hard core homeless.

They were people who lived in cars or on the street.

The 2013 census showed there were 4000 such people in New Zakand, but Ms Adams conceded that number was likely to have since increased.

Some of the people involved in the programme had been homeless for 24 to 33 years.

There were 500 places available in Auckland and the Government would fund another 500 elsewhere in New Zealand.

Ms Adams said 95 percent of Housing First residents had stayed off the streets.

That was an indication of remarkable success, given that mental health issues and drug abuse was common.

Many of the would-be residents were initially reluctant to work with social agencies.

Relationships and trust had to be built.

The Government would build another 6500 social houses over the next three years,’’ said Ms Adams.

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Mary-Ann de Kort - 7 days ago
Many people think social housing means we own the houses via our government. This is not the case. Our government gives huge subsidies to independent social housing providers so they can provide social housing.
Many of these social housing providers are faith, ethnic or interest-based groups so they could possibly prioritise their own followers ahead of the general public.
Many of them charge income-related rents but can only do so because they are paid rent subsidies to be profitable.
Taxpayers have moved from receiving a dividend from HCNZ profits to be committed to the enormous cost of rent subsidies and ongoing future costs.
HCNZ stock has decreased by about 3000 and homelessness seems to be a growing problem as a result.
It is a very long time since a government was forced into providing emergency housing to the level of purchasing motels as a backstop. If they had kept the state houses, we would have long-term housing at less cost.
I wonder where the money from the sale of all these houses has gone, and hope it hasn't gone down the same black hole which is our future debt spectre.
We need a more sensible government which will fix this problem. Past HCNZ practices showed the benefits of owning our houses.

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