In the first quarter of this year 1357 families and individuals came off the state housing waiting list and into permanent homes, as housing need continues to rise, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has today released the latest Public Housing Quarterly Report for March 2019.
The waiting list grew by 3 per cent or 355 households to 11,067 in the three months to March, compared to a 12 per cent increase last quarter.
Phil Twyford said while this is the smallest quarterly increase in the waiting list in two years, it is too early to say housing need has plateaued.
“Our Government is committed to addressing the long-term issues New Zealand faces. It’s going to take a concerted effort over many years to end homelessness. The housing crisis was created over a decade and isn’t going to be fixed overnight.
“But we are well on track to make 6,400 new public housing places available over the next four years,” he said.
“Over the past quarter the number of public housing places available rose by 255 to 68,280. That is an increase of 1,698 homes over the past 12 months for families in need.
“While it is good we have had the lowest quarterly increase to the waiting list in two years, we have continually warned that housing need will keep rising as people realise there is now a Government that understands there’s a housing crisis and is willing to help.
“We’re a Government that cares. That’s why we have seen record numbers of emergency housing grants provided in the last quarter to get families out of living in cars.
“Housing need often rises as we get into the colder months when substandard housing begins to harm the health of children. We have more help available for these families.
“For those families and individuals without permanent housing, we have increased the number of transitional housing by 979 since coming to Government, bring the total number available to 2,697.
“Over the past quarter the internationally-acclaimed Housing First programme helped 199 more long-term homeless people into permanent homes.
“Housing First is now operating in Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch, and launched in Rotorua earlier this month. Other locations including Wellington and Hawke’s Bay are expected to open throughout the year.
“So far, 720 households have been housed through the Housing First programme, including 452 children in Auckland alone – enough to fill an entire primary school.
“While housing need continues to grow, we are rapidly building more houses and increasing the number of support services available for those with complex issues. And we’re finding warm, safe and dry housing for more people,” Phil Twyford said.