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More social housing needed

14 Aug | 2017

> Download the 2017 Taking Stock Report (PDF, 4.55MB)

New Zealand needs to build a minimum of 2000 social houses a year to fix the situation that has left Kiwi families living in unsanitary, unsafe and unhealthy housing, The Salvation Army says. Seeing Kiwi kids in such conditions has caused the Army to ask: how many social houses are needed to fix this?

Today’s release of the report “Taking Stock”, is an attempt by the Salvation Army to paint an overall picture of social housing need in New Zealand and the building response needed to address this.

The Salvation Army estimates that New Zealand will need to build between 2000 and 2500 additional social houses each year, for at least the next decade. The present New Zealand stock of 82,000 social housing units houses needs to be expanded to over 100,000 over the next decade, says The Salvation Army.  Almost half of the increase in social housing needs to be in Auckland

The current Government social building programme has allocated $36m a year for the next four years.  At a maximum this will provide only 90 additional houses a year.  The Government will need to increase its effort by at least 20 times to meet the predicted need identified by The Salvation Army in this report. This requires a major rethink of Government priorities.

In its prediction of social housing need The Salvation Army argues that the assumption that most social housing tenants will be able to transition to other types of housing is not borne out in practice.  Many social housing tenants will need this type of housing for most if not all of their lives given their personal circumstances,  lifetime income and the likely housing cost in high demand areas of New Zealand.

The “Taking Stock” report identifies 150,000 working age people and 190,000 over 65s who form the base of people who will need social housing. Not all these people will require social housing, some will be able to find adequate housing with the support of the Accommodation Supplement or family.  However this still leaves a residue of families who will need social housing, requiring a social housing build of between 2000 and 2500 a year.

There will be a high demand for social housing in Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough and Nelson.  Outside of these high priority regions there will be a steady demand in most other regions for the next decade, The Salvation Army says.