OPINION: $300m boost to emergency housing

Housing availability and affordability continues to be a challenge that we must tackle.

It remains a high priority to relieve pressure on the housing market. This requires the removal of obstacles to the supply of affordable housing; be it the construction of more private housing, additional social housing, or in the provision of additional emergency accommodation places.

The Minister for Social Housing, Hon Paula Bennett, announced another $300 million funding for social housing last week.

This aims to provide more emergency housing places, more support for tenants and more frontline staff at the Ministry of Social Development.

The $300m funding package will be delivered over the next four years.

$120m will be invested into capital funding to build, buy or lease properties suitable for emergency housing. $71m will be invested in rental subsidies and $102m will go to providers to support, stabilise and help tenants into longer-term housing. MSD will see an injection of $10m to increase staffing.

There are approximately 1500 people on the Government’s housing register.

The funding increase will be enough for up to an extra 1400 emergency places at any one time, 600 in Auckland and the remaining 800 places in areas of high demand around the country. Paula has publically commented that extra beds are being introduced imminently,.

The aim is to deliver more than 8600 places per year, as well as continuing to provide access to alternative accommodation when contracted emergency places are not available.

Procurement work is well underway. Officials from across government agencies are working together to secure suitable properties around the country and, in Auckland, to build new ones if necessary. In addition to developing housing on Crown land in Otahuhu, work is progressing on modular housing at three sites across Auckland.

We’re working to make appropriate, affordable housing available to people across the spectrum. This funding package is being invested to assist the most vulnerable members of our society, to make sure their basic needs are met and suitable shelter is available to them.

By: Jami-Lee Ross, MP for Botany