What price social housing?

By Laurel Stowell

1 comment
Housing New Zealand's Whanganui office has been downsized.
Housing New Zealand's Whanganui office has been downsized.

Housing New Zealand ranks Whanganui's housing need as low - yet 24 people are on a waiting list, two houses are immediately available and another 31 are being sold.

On June 30 there were 24 individuals or families waiting for Housing New Zealand (HNZ) houses in the Whanganui district, and 17 of them were top priority, with severe and persistent need.

The other seven had serious, significant and persistent need.

Between them they want seven one-bedroom houses, eight two-bedroom houses and seven three-bedroom houses.

The district has 588 state houses, 51 of which are empty.

But only two are immediately available. Ten are being repaired, four are contaminated with methamphetamine and 31 are waiting to be sold.

Between mid-2013 and April 2016 there were 127 Housing NZ properties sold in Whanganui. They are always sold at market value.

Often they are sold to the tenants, who get a grant of up to $20,000, or to first home buyers. Money from the sales goes to maintain other houses in the area or build new ones in areas deemed to have greater need.

No new HNZ houses have been added in Whanganui in the last few years.

The people waiting for state houses here only account for 0.5 per cent of New Zealand's total housing need. Need here is also deemed to be less severe because houses are cheaper to rent or buy here than in bigger centres, which also have more homeless people.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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