Cabinet ministers were on hand to show government support for its new social housing model at a ceremonial function in Tauranga on Friday.
From next month Accessible Properties will take over 1138 social houses and tenancies owned by Housing New Zealand.
“This is the first regional, large-scale transfer of Government-owned social houses to a community housing provider,” says Social Housing Minister Amy Adams. “They are a major plank of our plan to improve social housing.”
“While the ownership of these social houses in Tauranga may change, nothing changes for the tenants – the house is a social house before the transfer and remains one after it, but the sale proceeds can be used to build even more social houses in the areas of most demand.
“The programme is designed so that we will get more houses overall, while ensuring tenants are better off.”
The money raised from the sale of the government housing stock to Accessible Properties will be used to build more social housing in other areas, says Amy.
Accessible Properties chair Paul Adams says the purchase represents 1138 new Tauranga tenants, which represents a 40 per cent increase in tenants for what was previously IHC.
Amy Adams was in Tauranga for the opening of Accessible's base of operations in Tauranga with Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, and Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller. And education Minister Hekia Parata.
“Accessible Properties has a proud history in New Zealand over more than 60 years of making a positive difference for tenants in the properties they already own. They have strong links to the Tauranga region, including a formal arrangement with local iwi and a good understanding of local community services,” says Amy.
“In addition to the social houses being transferred, they have committed to providing an extra 153 properties in Tauranga, which will go a long way toward addressing the need for more social housing in this rapidly-growing city.
“The Social Housing Reform Programme has been designed so that it can be a win for the tenants, and community providers who want to step up to serve communities of need, and see more social houses built across NZ .”
This year, the Government will spend $2.3 billion supporting 310,000 households with their accommodation. Those seeking immediate shelter can access an emergency Special Needs Grant so they have a warm, safe place to stay while they search for more sustainable housing.
The government has invested $354 million to help 8600 families every year with transitional housing, with 3660 of these to be in Auckland. It is also planning to grow the number of social houses available, from 66,000 today to 72,000 over the next three years.
Accessible Properties take over of 1138 social houses and tenancies owned by Housing New Zealand next month is the first regional, large-scale transfer of Government-owned social houses to a community housing provider.
Local MP Todd Muller says the transfer is a win-win situation for everyone involved from the tenants, to the local providers who want to step up and serve their communities and the Government who will see more social houses built nationwide.
“The real success story here is that more social housing will ultimately be available for our community. The proceeds from this sale can be used to build even more social housing in the area allowing the government to further assist those who need our support the most,” says Todd.
“This partnership will really help our local families who are currently living in social housing, and those who will need social housing looking forward. Accessible Properties have a plan to reconfigure and improve many of the homes involved, and in some areas replace them with homes more suitable for our families who need them.”