Mayoral hopeful who lives in social housing to quiz Crs

Mayoral candidate Stephen McPaike is on a mission to improve social housing standards.Photo: File
Mayoral candidate Stephen McPaike is on a mission to improve social housing standards.Photo: File
Mayoral hopeful Stephen McPaike will take the plight of people living in sub-standard social housing right to the council chambers today.

Mr McPaike will address city councillors and Mayor Lianne Dalziel in the public participation part of the fortnightly council meeting.

The 34-year-old retail worker and single parent has lived in a city council-owned social housing unit at Haast Courts in Linwood for the last three years.

During that time, he says he has thrown out two beds due to mould, in spite of ventilating his room every day. He has also resorted to placing bubble wrap over his windows to combat the cold in his poorly-insulated flat.

At the forum, he will be asking Ms Dalziel and city councillors: “Are you willing to live in one of these units?”

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This comes after he sent numerous complaints to the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust, which manages his flat.

He said he would fight to see social housing standards improved if elected mayor.

A lot of the city’s most vulnerable people live in these units. There are some people on the superannuation who after paying rent have $40 left,” he said.

The city council has more than 900 units without floor or ceiling insulation and has been advised it would cost $14,000 to $22,000 to complete the work in each unit.

The deadline for social housing providers to comply with the legislation requiring insulation was July 1, 2016.

The law made it compulsory for all social housing to be insulated unless it was not practicable to do so. In 2016, the council assessed its 2224 properties and fitted units with insulation where possible, but 930 were left un-insulated.

Tenants in these units, including Mr McPaike, were left to put up with freezing and damp conditions. In today’s meeting, the city council will discuss options to accelerate the process to make un-insulated social housing drier and warmer.

With current funding, the city council can do this by June 2022.