The number of people waiting for social housing in Christchurch has quadrupled over the past five years, reaching 2,040 households in June.
An estimated 35,000 households are also in a situation of “housing stress”, where more than 30% of income is spent on housing.
A social housing provider says around 500 children live in motels in the city with their families. But the Department of Social Development says as of June 30 the number was 393.
“Motels are no place to raise children,” said Christchurch Methodist Mission executive director Jill Hawkey.
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“We need to be able to get kids out of motels into more stable housing,” she said.
A growing number of people were retiring without owning a home and couldn’t find affordable rentals, Hawkey said.
At a Papanui village of 50 retirement homes, the waiting list was about 70 people, she said.
“The pressure continues to really build.”
Greater Christchurch councils are now being asked to implement a ‘more deliberate and concerted approach’ to affordable housing.
In a new report, independent city councilors have explained how local authorities, including Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri councils, can increase the supply of social and affordable housing in the area.
Recommendations include building more housing on public land, developing a toolkit of “supply-side incentives” such as rate rebates, and exploring “inclusive zoning”a policy that would encourage private developers to integrate affordable or social housing into their developments.
The authors say that the current goal of Christchurch Social Housing Agency Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust is limited, as it only works in the city of Christchurch.
A similar or sister organization should be established in Selwyn and Waimakariri, the report recommends.
Councils should take an active role in increasing the supply of affordable housing, he said.
Here are some examples of how to do this: prioritize delivery over financial returns, lead by example with demo projects, and initiate a “call for sites” process to build a database of developments. potentials.
Māoritanga (culture) and affordability are the perfect combination for new tenants in the papakāinga (housing) development in Christchurch
The report acknowledged that some work to improve affordability was already underway.
For example, Christchurch City Council already offers a rebate on development contributions for social housing.
Yet the report concludes: “a more deliberate and concerted approach is needed to address the growing, and not inconsiderable, lack of social housing”.
Community Housing Aotearoa chief executive Vic Crockford said it was easy to focus on quick fixes, but housing affordability required all parties, including councils, to work together.
“We can’t just play with one or two tools at a time and hope things work out, we actually have to look at the whole toolkit and figure out how it’s going to work in tandem.”
Crockford said ‘enormous benefits’ have been achieved when councils have worked with community housing providers – which is part of the report’s recommendations.
The report will be discussed this week by a committee called the Greater Christchurch Partnership, which is made up of several agencies including Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri councils; Environment Canterbury Regional Council; Ngai Tahu; Te Whatu Ora; and Waka Kotahi.
Responsibility and ownership of the recommendations now resides with the partnership, the report says.
” Especially the [partnership] organizations must ensure that this work program has the appropriate funding and mandate to carry out.
The partnership meets on Friday.
*CLARIFICATION: A social housing provider says about 500 children live in city motels with their families. But the Department of Social Development says as of June 30 the number was 393. Edited at 6:05 p.m. Monday September 5, 2022.