Kris Faafoi: Every New Zealander should have a place to call home

Opinion 14/02/2020

By Kris Faafoi, Associate Minister of Housing, Labour MP for Mana.

If I had my way New Zealand would have had a public housing build programme operating at the scale it is now for the past decade-plus.

This Government has delivered over 4,200 public housing places since we came into government two years ago.

It’s the largest scale public housing programme New Zealand has seen in 40 years.

If that level of delivery had been happening way before this Coalition came to power, we would not be facing the kind of catch-up that still sees the need for housing outstripping the supply available in parts of New Zealand.

It’s why we have committed $197 million to services and support for people experiencing homelessness, at risk of being homeless, or in need of help to hold on to their home while they may be dealing with mental or physical health problems, addiction issues, or other complex challenges in their life.

And it’s why we are backing up that sort of work with more than $300 million in our new Homelessness Action Plan to take these programmes further; including $175 million to make more transitional housing places available so people can move out of motels, which were always intended as urgent short-term solutions rather than the extended-stay options which they have become for some.

We are seeing positive results:

  • Housing First, as at 31 December 2019, has 1,758 households accepted into the programme with 1,060 households placed in permanent housing
  • On current progress, we will exceed the Government’s aim to create 6,400 new public housing places by 2022
  • And we’ve already helped 550 people through Sustaining Tenancies prevention programme, which the Government is now ramping up.

The reality is that we inherited a housing crisis. We have faced up to that crisis. And we are working hard to put in place the houses, the help, and the support to ensure that New Zealanders who need various levels of housing assistance get that assistance.

Having a home gives a person dignity, stability, and wellbeing.

Every New Zealander should have a place to call home, including our most vulnerable, often forgotten, or ignored New Zealanders.

Kris Faafoi is Associate Minister of Housing and Labour MP for Mana.