Demand for state houses reaches new high

New figures released today show the public housing waiting list has increased 26 per cent in the past three months, the largest increase in four years, says Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford.

“It will take bold action to fix the national housing crisis created over the past decade. The waiting list for public housing – there are now 9,695 households seeking help – is yet another sign of the depth and extent of the crisis.”

Figures released today as part of the Housing Quarterly Report  to March 2018 and Housing Regional Factsheets shows there are 7,890 households in need of public housing and a further 1,805 households waiting to be transferred from their existing public house.

Phil Twyford says the significant and continued increase in both numbers reinforces the urgent need to provide more New Zealanders with secure public housing from Housing New Zealand and community housing providers.

“We are committed to building more state housing, and providing more public housing places, more support for people in urgent need, and more support for the most vulnerable and homeless New Zealanders.”

Government will be making a major investment to tackle the national housing crisis on all fronts in Budget 2018 later this week. The Ministry of Social Development is working closely with the housing sector around the country this winter to identify more opportunities for bringing on additional housing.

“We want every New Zealander in need to have a warm, dry, safe accommodation, especially over the coming winter months. At this time of year no family or individual should be living in a car.

“Our Government is committed to making more public, emergency and transitional housing available throughout New Zealand. Only when more housing becomes available can we reduce the numbers of people on the state house waiting list,” Phil Twyford said.

Housing results at a glance:

  • Social Housing Register - The increase of 26% this quarter is higher than the December 2017 quarter, which saw an increase of 5% over the quarter ending September 2017. The increase this quarter of 1,970 applications reflects wider market conditions with housing costs increasingly unaffordable for many New Zealanders, evidenced by an increase in the number of applications lodged by people who do not receive financial assistance from MSD (up 54%)
  • Applicants housed - Over the quarter, 1,568 applicants from the Social Housing Register were housed, with an average time of 64 days to house. This is a decrease of 6% and on average six days longer, when compared to the number of applications housed in the December quarter.
  • Housing Support – For the March 2018 quarter MSD spent $572 million on housing support. This year MSD will spend around $2.3 billion on providing New Zealanders with housing support, ranging from places in emergency accommodation and transitional housing, through to financial support to remain housed in the private housing market.
  • Public Housing Supply - The total number of Income Related Rent Subsidised tenancies increased by 488 over the quarter.  There are currently 66,582 public houses. Of these, 61,338 state houses are provided by Housing New Zealand, and 5,244 community houses are provided by 31 registered Community Housing Providers.
  • Public Housing Demand – Compared with the same time last year, there has been an increase in the number of Social Housing Register applicants in Wellington Metro (up 613 main applicants, or 94%), Auckland (up 1,500 applicants, or 57%), and Christchurch (up 178 main applicants, or 33%), with most of the increases in all of these areas occurring over the last quarter.
  • Housing First - MSD has contracted five service providers to support 472 chronic homeless rough-sleepers to access secure housing. As at 31 March 2018, 215 households have been placed into secure accommodation in the public and private housing sector.
  • Transitional Housing - An additional 211 transitional housing places became available in the quarter, with a total of 2,112 places now tenanted or available for tenanting. We continue to work towards our target of 2,155 places, which could support 8,620 families each year.
  • Emergency Housing - MSD has seen a 1% decrease in the number of Emergency Housing Special Need Grants (EH SNG) being granted, albeit with a 2% increase in the number of individuals accessing the assistance.