Council looking for best deal for housing tenants

12 August 2015

Social housing is an essential part of any city and Wellington City Council continues to play an important role by providing good quality housing for 4000 tenants across the city.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the Council recognises that housing is important to people’s wellbeing, sense of belonging and identity. It is linked to people’s health, transport choices, education and wealth and is part of the core infrastructure of our city.  Housing is critical to Wellington’s economic growth as we need good housing to retain and attract people and businesses.

Today's (Wednesday 12 August) Community, Sport and Recreation Committee will consider the benefits of entering into partnership discussions with the Salvation Army and other community housing providers over a proposal that would enable more quality affordable social housing to be offered to Wellingtonians.

Mayor Wade-Brown says if the proposal is developed successfully and ultimately accepted by the Council and the Salvation Army it would make City Council social housing significantly more affordable.

Committee Chair Councillor Paul Eagle says rentals could be cut significantly for tenants on the lowest incomes.

For example, a couple with children living on an annual income of $20,000 could see their rental on a City Council apartment cut from around $150 per week to around $80 per week.

Cr Eagle says that at the moment, while Council provides subsidised rent at 70% of market rate in Wellington, it is not able to offer our social housing tenants the same level of subsidy as accredited community housing providers. 

“At the moment, many of our most vulnerable tenants are substantially worse-off than someone who qualifies for a Housing New Zealand home or one owned by a community housing provider.

“The proposed arrangement could herald a partnership between the Council and the Salvation Army – a proven provider of social housing and support services.”

If it was successful, the arrangement would have to run in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development – which registers eligible tenants before they are placed with a housing provider.

Cr Eagle says the City Council is committed to its role as a social housing provider. “Along with the Government, we are midway through a $400 million upgrade of our 2200 housing units and we are here for the long haul. If we can agree this proposal with the Salvation Army, or with other CHPs, then we will be able to make the country’s best social housing available to more people, more affordably.”

Mayor Wade-Brown says the Council will continue to work with the Government and other providers to do our best for the city and to ensure that housing is available to those who are most vulnerable.