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Mayoral task force to investigate city’s social housing problems

News from WCC
Mayor Andy Foster has announced the establishment of a Mayoral Taskforce on Social Housing to tackle challenges to the future sustainability of Council Housing and alleviate financial hardship experienced by tenants.

The decision to take a deeper dive into these challenges comes off of the back of decisions made through the WCC Long Term Plan (2021-2031) publicly revealing the dire financial state of Social Housing, as well as decisions made at the Social, Cultural and Economic Puroro Rangaranga Committee on October 7th 2021, requesting that Council:

seek opportunities with the Crown to partner in new social housing supply and Crown financial support for City Housing extending the Income-Related Rent Subsidy to Wellington City Housing tenants; and

investigate establishing a Community Housing Provider model

Subsequent media portraying the realities of hardship experienced by tenants living in Council housing and a community meeting held by tenants on October 16th urging for access to the Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS), and, has profoundly influenced the Mayor on his next steps.

Mayor Foster says “This was one of the specific areas I identified for deeper work when we did our governance review earlier this year.

“Hearing directly from a wide range of tenants on their real, everyday hardship has made very clear that we must find solutions, and do that together with the Government, our tenants and key social services organisations, so that our tenants have enough income left over after paying rent. We have 3500 tenants, many of whom are among the most marginalised in our community. This is about being kind and caring. It’s clear that Covid, housing market forces, and increases in the overall cost of living are exacerbating these challenges.

“I am grateful to our tenants, E Tu Union, and Labour MP Paul Eagle for helping to uplift the voices of our tenants. In response I am announcing today, the establishment of a Mayoral taskforce to support the work Council is doing:

Developing solutions to ensure financial sustainability for our tenants and for our Wellington City Council social housing portfolio
Partnering with the Crown to deliver more Social and Affordable housing in Wellington
Increasing access and inclusion for Wellington’s diverse council housing tenants
Considering together the shape of any future Community Housing Provider (CHP) should that be the solution ultimately arrived at

The Taskforce will include councillors, and a wide range of Social Housing and Public Health Experts, and most importantly, tenants, to work together to secure safe, stable social housing for generations to come.

“We owe it to our tenants to look beyond ”band aid” solutions and work with them to create long-lasting, sustainable solutions.” says Mayor Foster.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free said “We are about working in the best interests of our tenants, who are under considerable financial stress and this needs to be addressed whatever the outcome. Our commitment is to work constructively and proactively with all stakeholders to a shared goal which is that our city housing tenants have access to IRRS on an equitable basis.”

Liz Kelly Ngāti Toa representative on Council said an iwi perspective would support all tenants for an outcome that works in the best interests for all.

The Taskforce is intended to be operating from November and will report directly to the Council, with a final report by June.

5 comments:

  1. Local Aotearoa, 20. October 2021, 11:54

    Wellington City Council is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest social housing providers with more than 1,900 units. Establishing a sustainable model for this, which will require Government support through access to Income Related Rental Subsidies, is crucial for its future. [via twitter]

     
  2. A City For People, 20. October 2021, 17:51

    This is awesome news! It’s great to see the Council hearing the loud voices of council housing tenants, and ensuring that they’ll be at the table deciding the future of council housing and working to solve the unaffordable rents. [via twitter]

     
  3. Georgina Campbell, 20. October 2021, 18:36

    A notice of motion has been filed to freeze all rent increases for Wellington City Council social housing tenants next year, create a discretionary hardship fund for them, and top up the affordable rent limit subsidy with rates funding. [via twitter]

     
  4. Jill Day, 20. October 2021, 18:38

    This is so important. A Mayoral Taskforce takes time and our tenants need relief as soon as possible. I am concerned that a task force will slow down our other work. We know what needs to be done. We just need to do it. [via twitter]

     
  5. DCM, 21. October 2021, 15:52

    It’s great to see that the WgtnCC are looking for ways to make access to housing fairer, and more equitable, for people in need of social housing. We know there are many challenges, but we’re proud to be partners with a Council with a social conscience. [via twitter]