Napier City Council’s People & Places Committee is set to consider a resolution to publicly consult on Council’s social housing provision options at its meeting next Thursday, 3 February.
A review has identified that Council can’t continue to provide housing where costs are funded solely through rents. Costs have increased mainly due to the maintenance needed on the ageing homes.
Mayor Kirsten Wise says it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet housing provision costs while keeping rents affordable.
“We’re particularly concerned about the growing need for affordable rentals for superannuitants and the high demand for affordable housing in Napier. We are also aware that significant rates increases year on year to fund the projected shortfalls could have a big impact on others in our community.”
“Tenant welfare is a very important consideration for us. We don’t want our elderly and vulnerable living in sub-standard housing conditions. That’s why it’s important that we look at our future options and consider very carefully what is best for our tenants, as well as considering the needs of our ratepayers,” says Mayor Wise.
There are three options proposed for the consultation: keep with the status-quo of 100% Council ownership; sell some of the housing units; or sell all of the units. Council signalled in its Long Term Plan 2021-31 consultation that operation of its social housing needed to change. The community supported the option to temporarily loan-fund the cost of housing shortfall until a decision could be made on a longer term solution.
“We have taken a deep dive into this issue to gain a clear picture of the current situation and identify our future options. We know this process has been unsettling for our tenants, and we are pleased to now be in a position to seek feedback from tenants and the wider community before a decision is made,” says Mayor Wise.
Napier City Council started providing community housing over 50 years ago for people who need affordable homes and can live independently. Of the 377 Council-owned units, 80% are for retirees or people with a disability. Tenants are supported through subsidised rents based on income. Councils do not qualify for the Government’s Income Related Rent Subsidy that other community housing providers receive, which further exacerbates affordability.
The proposals can be viewed on Infocouncil | Business Papers. If agreed to, consultation on the three options will open for four weeks from 16 March 2022.
31 January 2022
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