Meeting the growing need for more homes

More social housing planned as waiting list grows.

More social housing planned as waiting list grows.

Nerell Woolf is keen to find accommodation in her new chosen home of Gisborne.
Picture by Liam Clayton

The Ministry of Social Development plans to acquire an additional 73 “public houses’’ in Gisborne by 2020 to help meet the growing need for housing in Gisborne.

That will take the current stock of public houses (Housing New Zealand and registered Community Housing) in this district from 1259 to 1332.

The ministry’s housing register (which records applicants eligible for social housing who are ready to be matched to a suitable property) says there were 108 such applicants in Gisborne in the quarter ended December.

They were broken down into 70 applicants rated as priority A (applicants at risk and with significant and persistent need) and 30 priority B (applicants with a serious housing need).

Those 108 compare to 88 such applicants in December 2016, 58 in December 2015 and 40 in December 2014.

Across the Housing New Zealand’s East Coast region, which also includes Hawke’s Bay, there were 515 applicants, including nine in Wairoa.

In the December quarter, 87 of these applicants were housed.

There are currently 4013 public houses in the full HNZ East Coast region.

Last week the Government announced 155 new state houses would be built by mid-2018. None of those are in Gisborne.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said there would be more houses to come as the Government tackled “the national housing crisis”.

Many of the above figures were released in the MSD’s first housing regional factsheets.

The factsheet describes the plan to increase housing stock as an “ambitious plan that recognises specific areas in New Zealand where there is significant unmet demand for public housing’’.

Mr Twyford said the new regional factsheets showed the Government was not shying away from the housing challenges faced by the regions.

“We want the public to understand the extent of these issues.

“This data gives the regions the information they need to work with central government on solutions to increase the supply of housing in their areas.

“This information is critical for the Government to understand what is happening at the grass roots level.

“We know what is happening at a national and main centres level, Auckland especially, but these factsheets shed new light on what is happening in heartland New Zealand — in places like Northland, East Coast, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury.

“Everyone — no matter where they live — should have a warm, dry, safe home.

“Solving the national housing crisis is a massive task and one we are rolling up our sleeves and getting on with.”

The Ministry of Social Development plans to acquire an additional 73 “public houses’’ in Gisborne by 2020 to help meet the growing need for housing in Gisborne.

That will take the current stock of public houses (Housing New Zealand and registered Community Housing) in this district from 1259 to 1332.

The ministry’s housing register (which records applicants eligible for social housing who are ready to be matched to a suitable property) says there were 108 such applicants in Gisborne in the quarter ended December.

They were broken down into 70 applicants rated as priority A (applicants at risk and with significant and persistent need) and 30 priority B (applicants with a serious housing need).

Those 108 compare to 88 such applicants in December 2016, 58 in December 2015 and 40 in December 2014.

Across the Housing New Zealand’s East Coast region, which also includes Hawke’s Bay, there were 515 applicants, including nine in Wairoa.

In the December quarter, 87 of these applicants were housed.

There are currently 4013 public houses in the full HNZ East Coast region.

Last week the Government announced 155 new state houses would be built by mid-2018. None of those are in Gisborne.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said there would be more houses to come as the Government tackled “the national housing crisis”.

Many of the above figures were released in the MSD’s first housing regional factsheets.

The factsheet describes the plan to increase housing stock as an “ambitious plan that recognises specific areas in New Zealand where there is significant unmet demand for public housing’’.

Mr Twyford said the new regional factsheets showed the Government was not shying away from the housing challenges faced by the regions.

“We want the public to understand the extent of these issues.

“This data gives the regions the information they need to work with central government on solutions to increase the supply of housing in their areas.

“This information is critical for the Government to understand what is happening at the grass roots level.

“We know what is happening at a national and main centres level, Auckland especially, but these factsheets shed new light on what is happening in heartland New Zealand — in places like Northland, East Coast, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury.

“Everyone — no matter where they live — should have a warm, dry, safe home.

“Solving the national housing crisis is a massive task and one we are rolling up our sleeves and getting on with.”

Stroke survivor looking for a home

NEWCOMER to Gisborne Nerell Woolf is a determined, resilient and independent woman.

The former Auckland team leader for a disability support organisation and social worker overcame being born profoundy deaf. But worse was to come when she suffered a major stroke seven years ago — only days after her 30th birthday.

Gaining paid employment after months of rehabilitation proved to be a significant obstacle. Later she found herself on the Housing New Zealand waiting list, where she remained for some years.

Nerell thought she would move to Gisborne. She loves Gisborne and has extended family here.

Nerell thought it would be easier to find somewhere to live in Gisborne. Wrong.

Nerell has been in Gisborne since February staying in holiday accommodation but her search for long-term accommodation continues. “I would love to find a place to live,’’ she said.

Her family, CCS and Gisborne Stroke Support are all doing their best to help her find accommodation, but so far without success.

Caroline Callow, Gisborne Stroke Support community co-ordinator, said the organisation had been supporting Nerell with housing, medical and social support. “We have achieved all but the housing.”

Ms Callow continues to work with Life Unlimited for needs assessment support and with a real estate property manager.

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) could not offer accommodation funding support at the place where Nerrell is staying, as it is not on their list of recommended housing options. Neither could Housing New Zealand offer support, as they could not override the WINZ decision.

There were other stroke support clients with housing difficulties issues.

“But it is important to find Nerell accommodation somewhere suitable because of her needs,” said Ms Callow.

An Auckland friend told The Herald that Nerell was a brave and determined young woman who had been left with severe aphasia after her stroke. Her concentration span in terms of reading or watching anything via digital formats was limited, and the right side of her body, including her right eye, was badly affected.

The aphasia meant that, while her cognitive function was almost normal (she knew what was being said or signed to her), she was unable to either sign or speak in return, other than the most basic of gestures.

She had ‘‘locked-in’’ syndrome. She was also left with epilepsy. Her signing and speech has since improved, and continues to improve with regular communication and social interaction.

“She is trying to make a new and meaningful life for herself, something she couldn’t do in the great behemoth of Auckland.

“We are hopeful that if she can find some suitable accommodation in her chosen city of Gisborne, that her future may finally start to look brighter.”

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Daniel Hanks, Auckland - 6 months ago
Good luck to Nerell! The Auckland deaf community know her as a really lovely person and she would make a careful and respectful tenant or flatmate. I'm hoping someone can give this great woman a chance of good accommodation. All the best Nerell for your new life in sunny Gisborne :)

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