A Tauranga social services provider has welcomed a government announcement that $300 million will be pumped into emergency housing over the next few years.
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett this week announced the package which would include 1400 extra places for homeless families and individuals - 600 in Auckland and the remaining 800 places in areas of high demand around the country.
The package would include the purchase, construction or lease of properties for homeless people, rental subsidies and money for social housing providers to support tenants into permanent housing.
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges told the Bay of Plenty Times it was still uncertain what the extra funding would mean for Tauranga but "there's no question it will mean something".
"Todd Muller (MP for Bay of Plenty) and I are going to meet with Paula Bennett later this week to talk through what that could look like."
He said they would be pushing hard to make sure the pressures placed on emergency housing in Tauranga, because of the area's rapid growth, were met.
Mr Bridges said he would be pushing for more emergency housing in the form of houses or motels in Tauranga.
He also supported continuing to work with local social service providers such as Te Tuinga Whanau and the Tauranga Community Housing Trust.
Te Tuinga Whanau executive director Tommy Wilson said the announcement was "great news".
"We were hooting and high-fiving yesterday morning," he said.
"The bit that really excited me was the front-line stuff.
"I'm encouraged that we will be a recipient, as well as Merivale Community Centre, in helping fight this battle of homelessness. I'm encouraged that the minister has listened and now she has acted."
Mr Wilson, who also set up Whare Tauranga, said he would be applying for more funding to help expand the programme.
To set up Whare Tauranga Mr Wilson applied for and received $46,000 of the $41m allocated to emergency housing in Budget 2016.
"That's about quarter of the running cost of Whare Tauranga for a year. At the moment we're running Whare Tauranga at a loss."
He said the organisation would be applying for part of the $300m fund to keep Whare Tauranga running and to open Whare Greerton/Merivale.
While the announcement was mostly good news, Mr Wilson said: "I got scared when I heard the minister saying they are going to buy motels.
"Throwing homeless people into motels, that does nothing to fix it. Why not buy Whare Taurangas and Whare Greertons? Let's put some permanent solutions together."
Associate deputy chief executive of social housing Kay Read said of the $300m announced $102m would be used to "support, stabilise and help tenants into longer-term housing".
"This means that while people are staying in these emergency housing places there is funding available so that they can receive the support they need to move into longer-term housing.
"Extra social housing places take time to deliver and short-term measures are needed now to address pressure on emergency housing."
Mr Bridges agreed buying motels was a short-term solution but said it would be a stop-gap while the Government's recent housing changes came into effect.
He said he was confident schemes such as the special housing areas and the Home Start package would be the long-term solution and enable people to get into permanent houses in the next few years.
Details of the funding package
• $120m towards building, buying or leasing properties which were suitable for housing homeless people. Most would be loaned to Housing New Zealand
• $71m would go into rental subsidies
• $102m would go to social housing providers to support tenants into permanent housing
Bay's biggest community funders unite on new housing focus
Some of the Bay of Plenty's largest community funding organisers have come together to improve local emergency housing and housing quality.
BayTrust, TECT, the Acorn Foundation, Rotorua Trust and the Eastern Bay Energy Trust have agreed to work together to tackle the problems after commissioning a research paper to look at housing issues across the Bay and examine what community funders can do to make the most difference.
BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said in a statement that although affordable housing was a critical issue, the keys to resolving it largely rested with central and local government policies.
Instead the group would collectively focus on improving housing quality and providing more assistance for emergency short-term housing issues.
"These are issues where community funders in partnership with key government agencies, NGOs, iwi, councils and the community, can make a real and immediate difference."