Rotorua marks third step in delivery of its Emergency Housing plan
- Three pronged emergency housing plan delivered with recently completed housing hub, Te Pokapū.
- The Rotorua model is informing future work in other locations for urgent, medium and longer term housing need.
A critical turning point in the Government’s actions to better support people living in emergency housing motels in Rotorua has been reached, says Housing Minister Megan Woods, who is visiting its recently completed housing hub.
“Te Pokapū, a community-led housing hub in central Rotorua, is a single access point connecting people with the right support services for them,” says Megan Woods.
“It is the result of many months of careful planning, and could not have been achieved without a strong partnership between Te Taumata, social service providers, MSD, and Lakes DHB.
“This one-stop shop provides crucial support for people in Government-contracted motels, including services to help whānau settle into their accommodation, social worker support, Ready-to Rent programmes, budgeting training, numeracy and literacy training, and after-school and holiday programmes for children.
“This hub is a key part of the moves we made last year to ensure there is wrap-around support for whanau and tamariki living in motels,” Megan Woods said.
In May last year a taskforce of government agencies, iwi and council came together to develop a new three pronged model specifically designed for Rotorua, as part of a suite of changes to emergency housing in the city, and in response to an immediate need.
This was done by:
- Government directly contracting motels for emergency accommodation and ending the practice of mixed use motels
- Grouping families and tamariki in suitable motels separate from other cohorts
- Providing wrap around social support services for people in emergency accommodation
“This new approach was about implementing short-term solutions, with the aim of building long term self-sufficiency, while continuing our hard work to deliver more permanent housing, as we keep a focus on good motel management for the benefit of tenants and the wider community,” Megan Woods said.
Te Taumata O Ngāti Whakaue leads and coordinates a collective of social service providers to help whānau into stable housing, supported by the Ministry of Social Development, taking a holistic kaupapa Māori approach. This is centred on Te Pou Whānau (family), Te Pou Wairua (spirituality), Te Pou Hinengaro (mental health), Te Pou Tinana (physical) and Te Pou Ahurea (culture).
“This is a great example of iwi, housing providers, local and central government working in partnership. We know we get better results by working together with people in the community who know their people best. Yes, there is more to do, but I’m hopeful that what we are learning here will help raise the quality of service across the country,” Megan Woods said.
COVID-19 has added to the challenges. In Rotorua, as with other parts of the country, the numbers of individuals and whānau receiving Emergency Housing – Special Needs Grants (EHSNGs) increased after the August 2021 lockdown.
“We recognise there is still some frustration in Rotorua as we continue with our plan to address homelessness while working at pace to increase supply, but we are starting to see green shoots. For the last decade consent levels in Rotorua have been one of the lowest in the country compared to population. However, consenting numbers have been ramping up, in the year to January 2022, 394 building consents were issued in the Rotorua District, which is more than were issued in the two previous years,” Megan Woods said.
Note to Editors
By taking a place-based approach, the Government and its partners have put in place a broad programme of work to increase the supply of affordable homes, as well as more public and transitional housing in Rotorua.
- Rotorua has been made a priority area under the Public Housing Plan, with 191 homes under construction/ in planning by Kainga Ora, a 28% increase in the number of public homes at the start of 2020.
- There are approximately 220 new public homes under construction or being planned in total in Rotorua, with the first of these ready in mid - 2022. (KO will deliver 109 new public homes by early next year. CHPs and iwi will deliver a further 29).
- In addition, around 30 transitional housing units are being delivered at Fenton Street.
- Over the last five years, including the current year, 131 new public homes were delivered in the Bay of Plenty, including 73 in Rotorua.
- $55m committed to address congestion and stormwater constraints on East side and to enable future stages of the Ngāti Whakaue Tribal Lands Wharenui Rise development.
- Through the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund, further funding is being considered to provide improved stormwater capacity.
- The Medium Density Residential Standard, will be applied to Rotorua with three dwellings to three storeys able to be built on most residential sites without a resource consent, allowing the council to significantly increase supply.
- Through Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga, agencies are working with iwi organisations to enable delivery of iwi housing, including Ngāti Whakaue as mana whenua and as a significant landowner across the district.
- Ngāti Uenukukōpako will deliver 15 public homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity (with funding of $4.2m through the He Kūkū Ki Te Kāinga Fund).
- Emerge Aotearoa have been approved to deliver 14 public homes at Frank Street.