Housing providers struggling to meet demand

Julie Scott wants to see greater investment in state housing in the Queenstown region. Photo: ODT...
Julie Scott wants to see greater investment in state housing in the Queenstown region. Photo: ODT files

The coalition Government is under renewed pressure to deliver on its promises to see every Kiwi with a roof over their head. Community provider the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust says it is also feeling the squeeze.

The number of people asking for help finding a home is skyrocketing. 

Labour was heavily critical of the National government last winter, when it was revealed families were living out of garages and cars in the coldest months.

It has now been revealed the public housing waiting list has gone up 26% in three months from December 2017 to March this year.

The waiting list has nearly doubled in size in two years, and there are now nearly nearly 8000 families, couples and individuals in need of accommodation.

It was not just the Government's own recorded waiting lists that were increasing in numbers. Community housing provider the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust said their waiting list had shot up.

"It's completely in line with what we're seeing in terms of our own housing waiting list," the trust's chief executive, Julie Scott, said.

"We've got a waiting list of over 500 households now, seeking some form of assistance from us."

The trust has 19 sites in the region, making its special housing portfolio bigger than the Government's state housing one.

Ms Scott would like to see greater investment in state housing in the region, and said she was keen to work with the Government on its KiwiBuild programme to help fix the real problem - that there were not enough houses.

Phil Twyford says the waiting list has increased due to the change in government. Photo: ODT files
Phil Twyford says the waiting list has increased due to the change in government. Photo: ODT files

National Party leader Simon Bridges said new housing minister Phil Twyford was taking too long and stalling the good work that was already under way to fix the problem.

"We were doing a huge amount, whether it was in special housing, social housing, emergency housing - or just the residential building boom."

However, Mr Twyford said the waiting list had increased due to the change in government.

He said people were coming forward now there was a government in charge that admitted there was a problem, and a need to fix it. He pointed to the Housing Stocktake report, which he commissioned when Labour first took over.

The report stated the crisis would probably get worse, before it got better.

"They talked about a hidden homelessness that's been out there. High levels of over-crowding, people not coming forward because they didn't think there was any realistic hope of getting help," Mr Twyford said.

"It's going to take a while, we've inherited a social and economic crisis, and it's going to take a while to fix it."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was adamant her government would fix it.

She said the Government had already put a halt on the sale of state houses since taking office, and that another announcement was imminent.

"We'll be making announcements on what we're doing on state housing in the Budget. But needless to say that's one of the reasons why we've doubled the amount of emergency housing that we've made available this winter, additional emergency housing, because we know that need is so great."

Comments

Queenstown is not your average town ...

However, I can forsee the government anouncing a new 1,500 home low cost housing development, utilising shipping containers similar to those used in Christchurch as shops after the earthquake ... a little rustier maybe, but still sound and watertight !

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