Affordable housing hitch

Dave Cull.
Dave Cull.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has declined a request from local MPs and social agencies for the Dunedin City Council to lead a crisis meeting over a lack of affordable housing.

This comes as a group of social agencies, including the Salvation Army and Presbyterian Support, agreed to a statement saying the situation was reaching or had reached "crisis point".

The group said rising rents were making it hard and sometimes impossible for people on low incomes  to find affordable rental properties.

"We are seeing a trend of landlords ending and not renewing leases, which forces tenants into a rental market they often cannot afford."

Waiting lists for social housing were growing and more families were living in cars and garages or being put up in motels while they waited for social housing.

The group, led by Dunedin South MP Clare Curran, called on the council to co-ordinate a city meeting focused on identifying the problems and finding short-term solutions.

"We believe the Dunedin City Council can play a strong role given it provides social housing and that housing quality and availability is an objective of its social wellbeing strategy."

They also believed the  Government was not doing enough to remedy the problem and that it should be involved in finding a local solution to the problem.

In a statement provided to the Otago Daily Times Mr  Cull said it was not the council’s place to lead discussions, but it would be happy to take part in  Government-led discussions.

"Through our social wellbeing strategy, the council is already committed to supporting good housing outcomes.

"One of our focuses in recent years has been on supporting the Cosy Homes Trust to increase the number of warm homes throughout the city."

As a provider of council community housing it was committed to matching applicants, particularly those over 55  with low incomes, to suitable, long-term accommodation.

"We will soon be embarking on a social housing plan that looks at how we best manage this into the future, and we’ll be engaging with the appropriate social service organisations as we develop that plan.

"However, the provision of short-term and emergency housing is a core function of central government, not local government," Mr Cull said.

"Therefore we would be happy to participate in central government-led discussions around the current housing situation in Dunedin to understand from them what the short- and long-term solutions might be."

Ms Curran was disappointed the council declined the request, but said she was happy to keep talking to the council about the issue.

She did not believe it should be left to the  Government to lead discussions.Instead she would work with Dunedin’s social agencies to find solutions.

"We’ve got to do something now."

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

Comments

One time I kind of agree with Cull, it is not really the councils Job- however he should have been outspoken and got in first to the media and put it back on CC plate. but then again is it Councils doing because there is not enough affordable housing in Dunedin - Yes it is maybe if the Cull and the council didn't stop or didn't make it so hard for companies coming to Dunedin and building Business then Dunedin might have more jobs with better wages and not this specialised Gigatown rubbish that other cities are getting not. - Wake up Dunedin some of the Council not all (who work for you as rate payers) are sponges. All I can say Is I'm glad I've left the town -last one out turn the lights out.