Urgent need for review of community housing

Bulletin board with the inscription RENT or SALE at home in the background

Community housing is being heavily subsidised by Gisborne District Council and an urgent review is needed, the Future Tairawhiti committee has been told.

Present rentals were nowhere near the council’s policy of charging 90 percent of the market rental, the committee heard.

The comments came as the committee agreed to recommend to the council the adoption of changes to its 2017/18 fees and charges.

Andy Cranston said the council must consider if its responsibility was to the tenants or the ratepayers because the rents were nowhere near 90 percent of market rental.

At the moment community housing was heavily subsidised.

Shannon Dowsing said community housing income might be slightly less than would be expected because it was GST-exempt.

Pat Seymour said community housing rents were supposed to be reviewed on March 31 each year. The council should be sure it did this by March 2019.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said community housing availability was a huge issue.

Tenants’ income was very low. The accommodation subsidy was not meeting their needs. There was a huge waiting list. This issue was in a “crisis space.”

She knew of a family of six that had to be sent to Churchill Park last week.

Mayor Meng Foon said even if the council made it to the 90 percent level, tenants would not be paying more because of the Government subsidy.

The other thing was that at this rate they were devaluing their asset, which they were considering transferring to Gisborne Holdings Ltd.

A review was needed urgently.

Amber Dunn said the 55 years minimum age limit should also be reviewed.

Brian Wilson said the council was subsidising a lot of fees amd charges, such as bus services and the library, as well as community housing.

It would be good to review what the council’s overall policy was in all the committees involved.

The council tried to set charges for non-commercial activities on a cost recovery basis but it was not achieving that.

It should be more transparent and have a note on what activities it did subsidise.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said Gisborne Holdings Ltd could review the community housing rates annually under the tenancy agreement.

The community housing issues would be part of the broader discussion on whether GDC wanted to transfer this to GHL.

Community housing is being heavily subsidised by Gisborne District Council and an urgent review is needed, the Future Tairawhiti committee has been told.

Present rentals were nowhere near the council’s policy of charging 90 percent of the market rental, the committee heard.

The comments came as the committee agreed to recommend to the council the adoption of changes to its 2017/18 fees and charges.

Andy Cranston said the council must consider if its responsibility was to the tenants or the ratepayers because the rents were nowhere near 90 percent of market rental.

At the moment community housing was heavily subsidised.

Shannon Dowsing said community housing income might be slightly less than would be expected because it was GST-exempt.

Pat Seymour said community housing rents were supposed to be reviewed on March 31 each year. The council should be sure it did this by March 2019.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said community housing availability was a huge issue.

Tenants’ income was very low. The accommodation subsidy was not meeting their needs. There was a huge waiting list. This issue was in a “crisis space.”

She knew of a family of six that had to be sent to Churchill Park last week.

Mayor Meng Foon said even if the council made it to the 90 percent level, tenants would not be paying more because of the Government subsidy.

The other thing was that at this rate they were devaluing their asset, which they were considering transferring to Gisborne Holdings Ltd.

A review was needed urgently.

Amber Dunn said the 55 years minimum age limit should also be reviewed.

Brian Wilson said the council was subsidising a lot of fees amd charges, such as bus services and the library, as well as community housing.

It would be good to review what the council’s overall policy was in all the committees involved.

The council tried to set charges for non-commercial activities on a cost recovery basis but it was not achieving that.

It should be more transparent and have a note on what activities it did subsidise.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said Gisborne Holdings Ltd could review the community housing rates annually under the tenancy agreement.

The community housing issues would be part of the broader discussion on whether GDC wanted to transfer this to GHL.

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