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Social housing: waiting list jeopardy for most needy

Amidst all the chatter and publicity about the current plight of the first home buyer, spare a thought for those people trying to get onto the bottom rungs of the “housing” ladder.

These are the folk and families who seek to provide a safe, secure and healthy home for themselves and their children.  Deposit level issues and mortgage rates are an impossibly distant dream.  Their reality is to try and get into a Housing New Zealand home and thus offer security and stability to their children and themselves.

What are the current criteria for a tenancy placement with Housing New Zealand?

The Ministry of Social Development sets the criteria for qualification for social housing assistance and monitors progress in implementation. 

It has a two tier system for those that have qualified for a Housing New Zealand home.

“A Priority” is allocated to households whose housing need is considered “at risk”.  The Ministry states that their housing need is severe and persistent and one “that must be addressed immediately”.

“B Priority” is allocated for those households with a less pressing but still “serious” housing need. 

Placement – what is the trend?

While the statistics indicate fluctuations up and down for each reporting period, the overwhelming trend indicates a severely worsening performance over the last two years.

As at 1 April 2013 those on priority list “A” totalled 1,107.  Now as at the 1 April 2015 the figure on this list is more than double the 2013 figure – namely 2348. 

What other social indicator reveals such an alarming deterioration in just two years?

Valid questions

How has this massive failure to perform by the state agencies come about?

What is the response of the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand to this failure?

What is the average time a person or family stays on priority list A before their housing needs are met?

What is the current stock of Housing New Zealand placements – has it gone up or down over the last two year period?

What has been the vacancy rate of Housing New Zealand properties over this two year period?  Has there been an efficient allocation of available housing?

What happens to the children waiting for social housing?

The failure to provide safe and secure housing has a profound effect on the health, education and social thriving of children.  That failure is well documented.  Each child has, as their basic birth right, the right to thrive.  Most of us are fortunate enough to take this right for granted.

For those children whose families are on Priority list A that right to thrive is plainly now at greater risk than two years ago.