Early progress for Auckland relocation grants

  • Paula Bennett
Social Housing

Grants to help people in or waiting for social housing with the costs of moving from Auckland are off to a good start and are already making a difference, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

Since the policy took effect one month ago, 12 applicants have received the non-recoverable grant, supporting 32 people. $54,508 has been paid out, covering things like moving costs, bond, rent in advance and letting fees.

Assistance has been approved for a further 10 applicants, supporting 20 people, pending confirmed moving dates and verification of costs.

“Although it is still early days, I am pleased to see people are taking up the offer of help,” Mrs Bennett says.

Six are moving to private accommodation, with the other half moving to social housing. Six were existing social housing tenants, and six have been on the social housing register waiting for a home. One applicant was homeless and four were in emergency housing.

“This policy isn’t about the numbers though. These are real people, and I am glad we can support them into more stable housing that suits their needs,” Mrs Bennett says.

“One successful applicant has happily made the move to Invercargill. She had been living with her sister but was asked to leave and ended up in her car. While talking with Housing New Zealand about support in Auckland, it was identified that she had extended family support in Southland and she asked for help to move to Invercargill. She accepted the offer of a two-bedroom home there.”

Other locations applicants have moved to include Rotorua, Brookfield Tokoroa, and Tawa.

“I’m particularly pleased to see that five applicants are moving to jobs,” Mrs Bennett says.

“We introduced this grant to remove the cost barrier for people who may want to move to cheaper regions where they may have family and other support networks, but simply cannot afford it.

“The grant is voluntary and may not be for everyone, but it is just one of the many initiatives in place or being rolled out to help people in a very tight housing market.”

The Government’s comprehensive plan to house more vulnerable people and increase the supply of social housing includes:

  • Including the new places funded, and the homes Housing New Zealand and community housing providers are building, buying or leasing, there will be 3000 extra social houses in Auckland;
  • Investing $41.1 million in emergency accommodation and a non-recoverable special needs grant to support those with the most urgent need for housing
  • Growing the community housing sector by making providers eligible to receive ongoing funding through the Income Related Rent Subsidy, and considering transferring some HNZ properties to them for ongoing use as social housing
  • Freeing up properties for those in most pressing need through tenancy reviews, which has seen 609 people move into private accommodation and 103 purchase their own home
  • Supporting people transition into greater independence in private accommodation by paying things like bond and letting fees
  • Launched a dedicated housing service for young people who are homeless which also aims to help them gain the life skills needed to live independently.

Updated numbers of the Relocating from Auckland grant will be provided as part of the regular quarterly social housing reporting process.