A new Housing New Zealand redevelopment. Photo / Richard
'Cave' dwellers will officially get top priority for
social housing under new rules that kicked in this week.
The Ministry of Social Development, which took over social
housing allocation from Housing New Zealand on Monday, has
posted detailed rules on its website which are far more
transparent than HNZ ever was.
They include the first clear income and asset limits for
social housing: net income after tax below $550.41 a week for
single people and $846.78 for people with partners and/or
children, and cash assets below $40,231.
They also list rules to determine the suitability of a
family's housing, including the number of accessible bedrooms
per person. Cars, 'caves', sheds, public places and living
areas within a house, are not considered accessible bedrooms.
A caravan is "one accessible bedroom", suitable for a couple
or for two siblings of the same sex, but not for opposite-sex
siblings aged 10 or over.
Top priority for allocating social housing will be given to
families whose housing is three or more bedrooms below their
needs, earning four points and going straight into "category
A" if they also have at least two points on other criteria
such as affordability of their current housing or
"difficulties in social functioning".
Two bedrooms short earn three points. One bedroom short earns
two points, which is unlikely to be enough by itself to
qualify for social housing.
Salvation Army housing analyst Alan Johnson said the new
system appeared to be very systematic and did not leave much
room for discretion - "which I don't think is necessarily a
bad thing ... I think the system looks quite robust."
Auckland City Mission worker Wilf Holt said he had never
found anyone living in a cave in Auckland, but homeless
people often made their own "caves" under bridges.
- Simon Collins of the New Zealand Herald