Boost for emergency housing begins today

  • Paula Bennett
Social Housing

Two initiatives to help some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people into emergency housing are available from today.

A special needs grant for emergency housing which does not have to be paid back was announced as part of a $41.1 million boost for emergency accommodation in this year’s Budget.

“This is the first time any government has committed ongoing, dedicated funding for emergency housing, because we recognise that not everyone has access to a safe and stable home,” Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

“During our review of emergency housing last year, it became apparent that vulnerable people were getting into debt to pay for accommodation when they needed it most. This was not right and we have fixed it.”

The new special needs grant will be available to people who need support with emergency housing costs and are unable to secure a place with an emergency housing provider.

“The grant is for up to seven days’ accommodation. However, the time can be extended in exceptional circumstances. This is similar criteria as the previous, recoverable, grant,” Mrs Bennett says.

Also today, the first contracts for fast-tracked funding for emergency housing providers have been put in place.

“I am pleased to announce that 14 existing providers will receive combined funding of $1.9 million for 337 places,” Mrs Bennett says.

Auckland providers will get funding for 153 existing places, Christchurch 101 Wellington 42 and Hamilton 17. The rest are split between Kaitaia, Whangarei and Whakatane.

“This funding will make a significant difference for providers, giving them the certainty of funding they need to keep making a difference in the lives of some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.”

A second tranche of applications for existing and new providers is still underway and is expected to be finalised by mid-August.

Around 3000 emergency housing places per year, 800 at any one time, will be funded across the country through the Budget 2016 allocation.

More information on the special needs grant for emergency housing can be found here: http://housing.msd.govt.nz/forms/factsheets/urgently-need-accommodation.html