Most new public housing places in a decade

An extra 1,658 public housing places have been made available in the past year, the biggest increase in state and community provided housing in a decade, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.

The latest figures from the December 2018 Public Housing Quarterly Report shows that the Government is pulling out all the stops to house those in need, Phil Twyford said.

“Our Government has been clear that the best way to tackle the housing crisis is to build more houses, and the best way to tackle homelessness is to build more public housing –that’s exactly what we are doing.

“Since coming to office, our Government has built 1,191 new state houses. 

“In 2018 we increased the number of transitional housing places by 768, which will allow us to temporarily house more than 3,000 more families each year. 

“Each new state house and community provided home means one less family living in unacceptable circumstances, such as cars, garages and under bridges,” Phil Twyford said.

The Government has also expanded Housing First from Auckland to Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch in 2018. 

“Housing First is an internationally recognised approach to supporting homeless people into housing.  So far the programme has helped 521 rough-sleepers in New Zealand find a permanent home.

“While progress is being made on building more homes, we know demand for housing continues to increase. The hidden homeless that we warned about at the beginning of last year are continuing to come forward with the Housing Register increasing to 10,712 in the last quarter. 

“It’s going to take a concerted effort over many years to end homelessness. The housing crisis was created over a decade and isn’t going to be fixed overnight. We are committed to 6,400 new places over the next four years,” Phil Twyford said.

The Ministry of Social Development has resumed public housing tenancy reviews which were paused during 2018. Changes to tenancy review exemptions give more stability to tenants who need long-term public housing, and focus the reviews on those more likely to be ready for a positive move to other housing.

“If we can help tenants who are more likely to be able to move with the right support, we can free up public housing places for those in greater need on the Housing Register,” Phil Twyford said.

Notes to editors:

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Quarterly Report provides the latest information on public housing supply and demand, housing support and the movement of people through the public housing system.

The full report, as well as Regional Fact Sheets with specific information about each region, is available on the HUD website:  https://www.hud.govt.nz/community-and-public-housing/follow-our-progress/.

Under the new exemption criteria, a public housing tenant may have a review every three years or so, but not if they or their partner either:

  • have children under 18 in their care,
  • are 65 or older,
  • get a Supported Living Payment.

Tenants in one of these groups will only have a tenancy review if their income, assets or other changes mean they may no longer need public housing. Tenants with lifetime tenure won’t have a tenancy review.