Rotorua community leaders and advocates say things are looking up with more funding being put towards emergency housing nationally - but they want to see some of it come the city's way.

Minister for Social Housing Paula Bennett announced this week more emergency housing places, more support for tenants and more front-line staff had been funded in the next step in the Government's comprehensive housing plan.

The funding boost of more than $300 million will be enough for up to an extra 1400 places at any one time, 600 in Auckland and the remaining 800 places in areas of high demand around the country.

It comes as Rotorua Trust, with BayTrust, TECT, the Acorn Foundation and Eastern Bay Energy Trust, agreed to work together to tackle housing problems after commissioning a research paper to look at housing issues across the Bay of Plenty.

BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said although affordable housing was a critical issue, the keys to resolving it largely rested with central and local government policies.

Instead, the group will collectively focus on improving housing quality and providing more assistance for emergency short-term housing issues.


Kay Read, associate deputy chief executive of social housing said the Ministry of Social Development was working to understand the level of demand in regions outside Auckland.

"We recognise that the Bay of Plenty is an area of high housing demand, including for emergency housing.

She said the ministry would release more information on emergency housing places in regions such as Rotorua as it agreed contracts with providers.

Waiariki MP and Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell welcomed the Government's announcement.

"I think we're making progress, but obviously not enough progress against the background of those who aren't able to move into home ownership and those who are suffering from homelessness.

"More support is needed across the board, not just in Auckland. Rotorua is only second to Auckland in terms of where MSD emergency housing assistance money is going. But it's not just about money though.

"MSD and HNZ need to improve the way they work with whanau who are dealing with stressful situations already, help needs to be given faster with less bureaucracy."

Love Soup Rotorua co-founder Elmer Peiffer said he though it was a good initiative.

"Rotorua is second to Auckland so we need to see some [funding] come here. It needs to be done otherwise people are going to have to move out of Rotorua."

He said the community had been working hard to help those in need and he had seen some improvements.

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"It's still pretty bad but rough sleepers have slowed down a bit. But we have a couple of families still coming to us each week.

"We have managed to provide some emergency accommodation throughout the community and families getting on board to help and the weather fining up a bit has helped."

Rotorua Salvation Army corps officer Ralph Overbye said more support for people in severe housing need was a good thing.

"Our first preference is always for permanent housing, but with the state of the housing market at the moment more emergency accommodation is needed.

"We're pleased the Government appreciates that people in housing crisis also often need intensive specialised services to find and maintain stable, long-term housing.

"This extra funding will help the Salvation Army and other organisations to provide more people with both emergency housing and the support services to help them in the long-term," he said.

"We will be talking with the ministry about how we can extend emergency housing in Rotorua."

Mayor Steve Chadwick said any funding was very welcome.

"We'd always like more for the regions but any assistance will make a difference.

"I don't believe we've been able to properly evaluate the extent of emergency housing needs in Rotorua yet. As part of a wider sustainable living strategy, Rotorua Lakes Council has started work to assess future social and general housing needs. Homelessness will be a component of that, but this work is in its early stages.

"Homelessness and housing are really complex, multi-faceted issues and council will look to collaborate with or support potential long-term solutions.

"We support the work being done by LifeWise and by Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell's office around homelessness/emergency housing and trying to create a collaborative network of key local providers," she said.