News | 7 December 2017
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Wellington develops ‘people first’ housing affordability model

Wellington City Council today adopted a draft Housing Strategy that is expected to set a new standard for measuring housing affordability.

At the meeting of the City Strategy Committee this morning, the Council unanimously voted in favour of a draft 10-year Housing Strategy that addresses a range of the city’s housing concerns, from emergency, social and assisted housing to private rental and ownership.

The Wellington Housing Affordability Measure (WHAM) is the cornerstone of the strategy, and will be able to measure affordability at a more detailed level than the Housing Affordability Measure (HAM) recently released by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Mayor Justin Lester says the Council’s housing team has been working hard to develop an affordability measure that takes into account the needs of diverse groups of people.

“Wellington is a diverse city and it’s important for us to understand what housing is affordable for specific population groups. This recognises that affordability varies significantly across different households and groups of people, and helps us to answer the question: who is this affordable for?”

Housing Development Manager John McDonald says “We want to use the measure to complement the trend information from Central Government’s HAM, and to understand what is affordable in relation to different population groups in Wellington. The measure will be further developed and will allow us to dig deeper into needs of individual groups, and we can use that information to target resource in a local context.”

Housing portfolio holder Councillor Brian Dawson says WHAM was about “putting people first.”

Establishing a housing first model to help address homelessness and alcohol addiction in the city, increasing housing supply and converting central business district buildings to apartments were other priorities passed in the strategy.

The Housing Strategy will go to consultation as part of the Council’s Long Term Plan consultation process in 2018.