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Social housing needs overhaul - report

Published: 10:17AM Thursday November 14, 2013 Source: ONE News

The Salvation Army has slammed the Government's social housing policy, saying its efforts to change and improve the system are "token at best".

In a special report into social housing, the Salvation Army claims Housing New Zealand (HNZ) is seriously underfunded and in desperate need of a review.

The report made no specific policy recommendations but suggested "reframing" housing policy to focus more on outcomes and less on budgets.

"Housing policy has, for the past two decades, lacked a guiding philosophy or even an understanding of what housing programmes are supposed to achieve," the religious charity said in a statement.

The report says the Government has contributed $129 million a year to HNZ for the past three years, but received dividends of $271 million each year.

The author of the Give Me Shelter report, Alan Johnson, said social housing was very closely tied to the health of communities.

"There is a fundamental and urgent need to review policy and once and for all develop a vision of how housing might contribute to people's and society's wellbeing," he said.

As more Kiwis need social housing, due to the aging population and the increasing difficulty of buying a home, it becomes more important to have a policy "formulated by all stakeholders and not just a by a few political parties", Mr Johnson said.