Plans have been revealed for 117 more social and transitional houses to be set up in Rotorua over the next three years - a mix of new builds and newly acquired rental properties.
The plan was announced by Associate Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro, who visited Rotorua today to inspect some of the already completed transitional houses with local MP Todd McClay.
"We're aiming to have 37 transitional houses available by the end of the year and 80 new social housing properties over the next three years," Mr Ngaro said.
"This is a statement of intent that we take the issue of housing in Rotorua seriously and that we have a plan to address the need. We are working hard to address the current and future demands on social housing."
Mr McClay said the 80 social housing properties would include 40 one-bedroom, 30 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom homes, a 13 per cent increase on the 647 social houses currently in Rotorua.
"There are challenges around property availability here in Rotorua because the economy and population is growing very quickly," he said.
"The reason we have pressure on the roads and on housing is because people are choosing to stay, come home and move home. The solution is to build houses and the Government are showing today that we want to be part of that."
Mr McClay said he would work with Rotorua Lakes Council on section availability and consent times to get the new homes built as quickly as possible.
The Ministry of Social Development said it was actively encouraging private social housing providers to help the Government deliver the new properties within three years.
"The squeeze is that people are coming here, buying the rental property and using them to live in themselves," Mr McClay said.
"Government has a role to play, but if we are short of houses in Rotorua the solution is the private sector building them."
The 37 new transitional houses will incorporate community service providers.
"In the Rotorua area we have great community providers that are working really hard and the services that are being offered are making a difference. The solutions are not just with Government, and other providers working together is always a much better fit," Mr Ngaro said.
Salvation Army corps officers Ralph and Kylie Overby and manager for community ministries Shelly Fischer said they were excited to work with the Government on the transitional homes.
"We currently have four transitional homes, we want to get up to eight," Mr Overby said.
Mrs Fischer said they were looking for people ready to make a change in their lives.
"These houses are for people that are going through a bump in the road and are needing to have some support to make those changes."
Mrs Overby said the key word was transitional.
"It's a bit of breathing space to give people the room they need to move forward," she said.
"Our social workers will get on board with the clients straight away, and they visit them at least twice a week so they have a care plan in place to help them resolve the things they need."
Mr Ngaro said one of the challenges to date had been communication between ministry sectors.
"It's all about how we share information. That background is important for sustainable placement, so we can get the right place and the right fit for each family."
Ministry of Social Development national team lead for emergency housing Nigel Philpott said the new houses would cover the issues in Rotorua.
"From a Ministry of Social Development perspective, they've got a waiting list and from analysing that it is a sufficient number," he said.
"If we did need more then we've got the ability to bring on more."
Mr Philpott said service providers beyond the Salvation Army would be brought on board.
"Obviously the Salvation Army are on the ground, but other people will be coming in to help."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick could not be reached for comment.