Fairer policy for state housing

Changing the way state houses are allocated is both fairer and more sensible.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley said those in greatest need (A and B) will be eligible for a state house, those with lower needs (C and D) will be helped into other types of housing.

“All applicants (A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s) will continue to be recorded on a Housing Needs Register so that we maintain a clear picture of wider housing need” says Mr Heatley.

“But whereas once C and D tenants would languish on the waiting list with no real prospect of getting a state home, they will now be given assistance to find a home outside state housing, and we think this is a positive,” he said.

“Housing those not eligible for state housing means working very closely with third sector providers of niche, social and affordable housing to significantly grow the volume of social housing available.

“We want to ensure that tenants with the greatest need have timely access to a state home for the duration of their need,” says Mr Heatley.

The first priority for state help should be those in greatest need.

Under the current system those with lower needs would be on the waiting list even though there was little if any chance of ever getting into a state house. The new system will stop the pretence that there might be something available one day and give them help now.

Another welcome change is the introduction of reviewable tenancies for all new tenants from 1 July.

“A tenant’s circumstances will be reviewed once every three years to ensure their housing needs are being properly catered for. When their circumstances improve significantly and they are able to afford a home outside state housing they will be assisted to move – freeing up a state house for someone in greater need,” Mr Heatley said.

“Elderly tenants and those with significant disabilities will be subject to a desk top review only as their circumstances are unlikely to have changed, and we don’t want to worry them unnecessarily,” he said.

This means that people occupying a larger house will have to move if, for example, children leave home meaning they no longer need so many bedrooms.

This is much fairer than the current situation which allows a single person or small family to continue occupying “their” state house when larger families are in need is unfair.

A tennnt renting a privately owned home wouldn’t expect to live their for life, nor should someone in a state house.

 Other changes that HNZ are making include:-

• A suspension period to prevent tenants who are issued a ninety day notice, for abusing their state home or for ongoing anti-social behaviour that affects communities, from reapplying for a state house for up to a year; and
• Stronger measures to detect and prevent fraud.

“The Government wants the state housing system to be fairer, more focussed and more efficient,” Mr Heatley said.

“These changes are fairer to people in greatest need, more transparent to C and D applicants and give a clear signal to the other social housing providers that we need them,” says Mr Heatley.

“A state home and the Income Related Rent that goes with it amounts to a considerable taxpayer subsidy for a household. We want to make sure this benefit goes to those in the greatest need, for the duration of that need,” he said.

 This policy will result in a much better match between people and housing.

It also sends an important signal that state house are for those in greatest need while in need. That might be forever for some people but it won’t be for all.

12 Responses to Fairer policy for state housing

  1. gravedodger says:

    About time, far too many of the people in state houses and the politicians who manipulate that “assumed right” have no regard for the primary function of “state Housing” , to solve a problem as a renter of last resort.
    Review at desktop annually with the full review at 2 years would be appropriate in most cases.

    Good on you Phil Heatley, have another couple of Gimblett Reds on my account, this sort of pragmatic management of this widely rorted activity needs sunlight on it to clean it up.

  2. robertguyton says:

    You are such a shill Ele.
    Heatly got panned when he appeard on The Nation last week, and the switcharoo that National has running on the issue of state housing was shown there to be the disgrace it is.

  3. homepaddock says:

    You think a single person or small family should carry on occupying a big house, and that someone who no longer needs a state house should stay there when others need it more, Robert?

  4. robertguyton says:

    I think Heatly and National intend to seriously damage or destroy entirely the very necessary state housing system that has served New Zealanders so well for so long. They’ll do it, with your help, by magnifying problems, presenting partial truths and criticising the system, as they/you did with ACC, until it looks far, far worse than it is. Privatisation is always the objective for you and them.
    It’s a transparent and ugly ploy Ele.

  5. homepaddock says:

    You didn’t answer the question. Do you think a single person or small family should carry on occupying a big house, and that someone who no longer needs a state house should stay there when others need it more?

    Apropos of privatisation – do you think the state is better at providing homes than agencies like the Salvation Army, Presbyterian Support, Habit for Humanity and IHC?

  6. robertguyton says:

    There are, as always, improvements that need to be made told systems that have been around a while. national uses that truism to mask its plans to destroy many of those basic ‘good things’ for New Zealanders as per its freemarketprivatisesellsellsell ideology.

  7. hollyfield says:

    I don’t recall seeing Mr Heatley on The Nation last weekend. However, I did see him on Q+A. I saw the panellists (including former Alliance MP Sandra Lee and Ngai Tahu’s Mark Solomon) agreeing with Mr Heatley’s plans to ensure
    that the people in most need get the state houses,
    that people should only have a state house of an appopriate size for them,
    that people whose financial circumstances improve should be supported into private accommodation so that state housing can be provided to those most in need.
    Sandra Lee also talked about the housing crisis that’s been going on for decades, because of the “state house for life” mentality meaning that the people in most need have not always been able to get a state house. She talked about people having to live in sheds and garages, when other people on high incomes stay in a state house.
    The panel was also supportive of Mr Heatley’s comments about outside agencies, such as the Salvation Army providing housing support.

  8. gravedodger says:

    Now look here Hollyfield old chap, don’t you come here with rational debate, logic and facts, that is for our oh so tolerant host.
    Visitors just shout, crack jokes (or what we think is funny) and spout idealogical based rubbish.
    BTW a great comment.

  9. robertguyton says:

    Heatly was on Q&A, not The Nation. Lee and Solomon did agree in part, with what Heatly said, as do I. The bigger picture that I described above, wasn’t embraced by those panelists. Or hollyfield, are you suggesting that Sandra Lee, for example, supported Heatly’s and National’s broader moves to shed responsibility for state housing?
    I think not.
    GD – ‘old chap’ is classic Tory whuffle. I’m surprised you didn’t shout ‘tally-ho!’

  10. gravedodger says:

    Only when I used to follow the Hounds (Harriers) in glorious days now passed, Sonny Bill.
    Oh and read my lips I am not a Tory although coming from you I will be charitable as regards your obvious ignorance.
    psst your slip is showing, hitch up your linen man.

    Oh and back on topic, you are the only one talking about reducing the commitment to “state housing”, Phill Heatley is talking about fairness in allocation and efficiency in delivery by way of mandatory review of changing circumstances, a natural process I would have thought. A principle that is clearly beyond your comprehension skills. Would you like Hollyfield to type it again, S L O W L Y, just so you can take his very well made points in.

  11. pdm says:

    GD & HP – the last thing RG would want is for the Government to sell off State Houses – shock horror – to existing tenants and then use the proceeds to build or purchase more state houses in areas they are needed more urgently.

  12. Better late than never. When State houses first came along they were a way to get working men and their families out of awful living conditions. The tenants expected to do their 40 hours a week then till their gardens, mow their lawns, trim their hedges and live well.
    Benefits were for widows. Now we see the state as the providers of housing to anyone who says” I need help”, regardless of their ability. to help themselves.
    Whether or not we maintain state housing for those who need a help taking their first steps as a family is not the issue under debate.
    How best to help those who present as something between needy and helpless is what’s up for discussion. The minister is quite rightly saying that often specialist charities get better results than government departments and if transferring housing assets to those charities helps them help the needy isn’t that what we’d all like to see?
    James McGehan (like the Close)

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