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Robust debate focuses on welfare of tenants

NCC Retirement Villages May 2014 27

Napier City Council has listened to the views of the community, following the hearing of submissions on the future of the community housing portfolio. Council voted unanimously in favour of retaining the portfolio. 

Council resolved to implement a sustainable cost-recovery rent setting and continue to fund deficits through loans until any rates increase has been consulted on with the public. 

Council also charged council officers with preparing a comprehensive housing strategy alongside lobbying central government to access income rent subsidies. 

Councillors heard from 18 submitters and considered 291 submissions in total at the Napier War Memorial Centre today.  

Just over half of submissions called for Council to keep all its housing. There was strong support - 72% of all submissions - to retain housing in some capacity. They felt Council had a responsibility to protect, particularly older people, in the current housing climate. 

Council wants to continue providing housing for vulnerable members of the community, protect tenants and protect the character of Napier’s housing villages, said Mayor Kirsten Wise.  

Councils are not currently eligible for central government subsidies whereas other community housing providers are. Future local government reforms may increase the ability to achieve wellbeing outcomes, including social housing. 

“During this period of uncertainty we are clear it is the desire of our community to retain ownership and control of Council housing in our city,” explained Mayor Wise.  

Napier City Council also felt it was important that regional options with other Councils should be considered as well as investigating other operating models such as contracting an external provider to manage council-owned community housing properties.  

“Number one for me has been around giving our tenants certainty,” Mayor Wise said. “We now have a clear pathway to establish the best possible and sustainable way to retain ownership of our property portfolio.” 

Napier started providing community housing more than 50 years ago, when it received low cost government loans to build housing units. Of the 377 units, 80% are home to retirees or people with a disability. 

19 May 2022

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