Housing sector

Concerns that the community housing sector cannot access a fund of 350 million dollars

A South Auckland community housing trust says many providers in the area do not have the land or development plans ready to take advantage of the government’s new affordable housing scheme.

By local democracy journalist Stephen Forbes

But others in the sector say that after waiting six years for funding to build new homes, it’s a good start.

The government announced this week that it will begin accepting the first applications from community housing providers under its $350 million Affordable Housing Fund.

It will provide grants of up to 50% of the costs of affordable rental property developments.

But Monte Cecilia Housing Trust chief executive Bernie Smith said many providers in the Auckland region will struggle to take advantage of the scheme.

“I think in Auckland, if you’re a community housing provider and you’re sitting on a lot, that’s great,” Smith said.

“But if you don’t already have the property and aren’t planning on going, I don’t know how you could make it work?”

He said there were already supply-side shortages in the construction sector, from the lack of available tradesmen to materials which could impact the timing of projects, while prices for real estate in the area will also increase the cost of developments.

Smith said he plans to meet with officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development next week to discuss his concerns.

But he said the scheme is something the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust may need to consider in future to finance housing if it can get it to “stack”.

Too many children in temporary accommodation – provider

Community Housing Aotearoa chief executive Vic Crockford said the government needed to do more to build more affordable rental housing and that the Affordable Housing Fund was a good start.

“Many households are struggling to pay their rent, resulting in a growing waiting list for transitional housing and too many of our children in temporary housing, unable to put down roots,” he said. she declared.

Crockford said it has been six years since initial capital funding was last available for community housing providers to build homes. But she said many suppliers in the target regions were ready and waiting with projects underway.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Housing Minister Megan Woods said the scheme was an important way to increase housing supply.

“The first $50 million of this fund is for rental developments for low-income people who cannot afford market rent but cannot access public housing. This will make projects to develop and maintain new affordable rental housing financially viable.

She said the first round of grants would target areas with high housing needs, including Auckland, Tauranga-Western Bay, Rotorua, Napier-Hastings, Wellington and Nelson-Tasman.

The director general of housing and service delivery at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Jono Fraser, said he was willing to be flexible about how the grants were rolled out.

“We will work with organizations that have promising proposals on a case-by-case basis to determine when they will receive payments, to ensure funding is available when needed.

“We are aware that the cost of land in this first round of funding will affect the nature of the proposed developments that applicants will submit.”

Local Democracy Reporting is public interest journalism funded by New Zealand on Air.