Kainga Ora


Community housing providers are halting the construction of urgently needed homes due to uncertainty surrounding government funding beyond June of the following year.

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These providers accommodate over 13,000 low-income families in Aotearoa, with over 25,000 applicants on the public housing waitlist. Despite readiness from organizations like the Salvation Army to commence construction, progress is hindered, as stated by Greg Foster, head of the Salvation Army’s housing arm.

The Salvation Army has submitted two applications for approximately 70 homes to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development but has been informed that funding is unavailable. This funding typically covers income-related rent subsidies (IRRS), crucial for community housing providers to cover their costs over time while maintaining affordable rents for tenants.

However, the current funding is only secured until June of the following year under the Public Housing Plan, leaving uncertainty afterward. Housing Minister Chris Bishop was unable to provide insight into future plans.

Providers fear being left with substantial expenses to cover. Foster highlighted expenses of around $400,000 to $500,000 in consulting fees for obtaining resource consent with no assurance of moving forward.

Providers emphasize the need for continuity in funding over the next five years to ensure a steady supply of housing. Accessible Properties CEO, Greg Orchard, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing that without subsidies, no new housing will be built. Accessible Properties, for instance, has the potential to deliver 1700 new homes in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty, but smaller opportunities are being abandoned due to the lack of long-term funding.

Both Foster and Orchard express hope that Housing Minister Chris Bishop will demonstrate support in the upcoming Budget, potentially allocating funds to address this critical issue.