Phil was full of his housing accomplishments – but see how the demand has burgeoned

Our attention was drawn to the demand side of considerations, in the latest  Public Housing Quarterly Report, after Phil Twyford alerted us to its publication.

The report tracks progress and shares data on public housing and transitional housing supply, homelessness programmes, and other housing support.

The report includes data from the Housing Register, which captures the housing requirements of people who have applied for public housing through the Ministry of Social Development.

There were 10,712 people on the register at December 2018, a rise of 12% during the quarter.

More glaringly, it was 4530 more – an increase of 73% – than the numbers on the register in the December quarter of 2017, when a new government was settling in with a commitment to providing housing for those who need it .

The report conjectures on the the increase in demand, suggesting it “may be attributed” to a number of factors:

• Public awareness of support available through increased media and stakeholder engagement activities

• Increasing competition for private rental properties

• Fewer exits from public housing into other accommodation.

Taxpaying readers might like to know they coughed up $715.2 million for total housing support during the December quarter, up from $692.5m the previous quarter.

A breakdown shows $242.4m was spent on income-related subsidies, $407.5m on the accommodation supplement, $45.1m on temporary additional support, $19.5m on emergency housing special needs grants, and $0.7m on housing support products.

But Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford made a meal of another set of figures in the report.

One of a plethora of press statements he issued was headed Most new public housing places in a decade.

An extra 1,658 public housing places have been made available in the past year, the biggest increase in state and community provided housing in a decade, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.

The latest figures from the December 2018 Public Housing Quarterly Report shows that the Government is pulling out all the stops to house those in need, Phil Twyford said.

Since coming to office (roughly, the period during which demand for state housing ballooned to 10,712) the Government has built 1,191 new state houses.

In 2018 it increased the number of transitional housing places by 768, which will allow the state to temporarily house more than 3,000 more families each year.

“Each new state house and community provided home means one less family living in unacceptable circumstances, such as cars, garages and under bridges,” Phil Twyford said.

The Government has also expanded Housing First from Auckland to Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch in 2018.

The Minister’s statement did recognise the continuing increase in the demand for housing:

“The hidden homeless that we warned about at the beginning of last year are continuing to come forward with the Housing Register increasing to 10,712 in the last quarter.

“It’s going to take a concerted effort over many years to end homelessness. The housing crisis was created over a decade and isn’t going to be fixed overnight. We are committed to 6,400 new places over the next four years,” Phil Twyford said.

The full report, as well as Regional Fact Sheets with specific information about each region, is available on the HUD website:  https://www.hud.govt.nz/community-and-public-housing/follow-our-progress/.

Twyford issued a series of accompanying statements palpably pitched at winning regional headlines.

For starters, there was More than 800 Auckland households found homes last quarter 

The latest Public Housing data for Auckland shows that 818 households were provided with a place to call home in the last quarter, and more public housing is being brought on board to address increasing demand.

The figures reflect households who were either on the Housing Register or the Transfer Register, which is comprised of those whose existing public housing no longer meets their needs.

The statement wraps up:

“We need to build more public housing, and we remain committed to increasing supply by 6,400 new places in the next four years, 3,550 of which are expected to be in Auckland.

“We are on track to achieve this goal,” Phil Twyford said.

The next statement was headed Nearly 50 Bay of Plenty households found homes last quarter  

It says the latest public housing data for the Bay of Plenty shows that 49 households were provided with a place to call home in the last quarter …

“In the last quarter, in the Bay of Plenty we made an additional 22 public housing places available, with 13 built by Housing New Zealand and nine brought on by registered Community Housing Providers.

“In the same time period, we also brought on eight transitional housing places, which will allow us to support more than 20 additional families and individuals each year.

“Each home that we bring on board means one less household living in unacceptable circumstances, such as cars, garages and under bridges.

During the quarter, the Housing Register for the Bay of Plenty region increased by 58 households.

The Government expects 275 of the new houses on its agenda to be in the Bay of Plenty region.

“We are on track to achieve this goal,” Phil Twyford said.

Similar statements, each tailored for regional consumption, were headed –

early 290 Canterbury households found homes last quarter   

More than 50 households in the Central region found homes last quarter  

More than 120 households in the East Coast region found homes last quarter 

Nearly 40 households in the Northland region found homes last quarter    

More than 40 families housed in the Southern Region     

Over 40 Taranaki households found homes last quarter

More than 90 households in the Waikato found homes last quarter

More than 170 households in the Wellington region found homes last quarter

Nearly 50 households in the West Coast-Tasman region found homes last quarter  

Goals are provided for each region and – sure enough – Twyford says “We are on track to achieve this goal”.

 

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