Social housing demand information released for the first time

  • Paula Bennett
Social Housing

Information about what social housing is needed and where has today been made available to housing providers for the first time says Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.

“The Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) Purchasing Intentions information release is the first of its kind, and marks a milestone in the Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Community Housing Providers and Housing New Zealand will be able to use this document, and subsequent updates, to understand where MSD expects to purchase social housing tenancies, how many tenancies it expects to fund over the coming years, and how it will contract with Community Housing Providers as the social housing sector becomes more diverse.

“It responds to requests from the sector for more information from MSD about where it will look to purchase tenancies, and what vulnerable New Zealanders on the social housing register require to suit their family’s needs.”

In April 2014 MSD became the purchaser of social housing tenancies for people with serious housing needs. As part of its commitment to providing more social housing places, the Government in January confirmed an increase in the number of income-related rent subsidies (IRRS) from 62,000 now to 65,000 by 2017, at a cost of $40 million extra per year. 

“In the past, too much emphasis was placed on the property, with little concern for the tenant. This release supports the rest of the Government’s work to change the whole focus of social housing to be about people and families, and helping them back into housing independence,” Mrs Bennett says

The release also provides the clearest picture yet of the demand for social housing across the country.

Regional profiles included in the release give providers a wide range of information including the demand for houses right down to the number of bedrooms required, the make-up of families on the social housing register, and their reasons for needing social housing.

Work is already underway to make 300 extra social housing tenancies available in Auckland from Community Housing Providers who can demonstrate new and innovative approaches to supporting tenants.

A Request For Proposal for these places will be released in early May, and legislation to enable increased flexibility that these contracts may require will be introduced shortly.

Tenant eligibility for social housing will not be affected by the release of the purchasing intentions, and the criteria for applying for social housing is not changing.

This is the first in a series of regular Purchasing Intentions releases by MSD, which will evolve based on feedback from providers and contain more information and direction as the Social Housing Reforms progress.

A link to the Purchasing Intentions release is here: