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Mayor Announces Taskforce On Social Housing

Press Release – Wellington City Council

Mayor Andy Foster has announced the establishment of a Mayoral Taskforce on Social Housing to tackle challenges to the future sustainability of Council Housing and alleviate financial hardship experienced by tenants. The decision to take a deeper …

Mayor Andy Foster has announced the establishment of a Mayoral Taskforce on Social Housing to tackle challenges to the future sustainability of Council Housing and alleviate financial hardship experienced by tenants.

The decision to take a deeper dive into these challenges comes off of the back of decisions made through the WCC Long Term Plan (2021-2031) publicly revealing the dire financial state of Social Housing, as well as decisions made at the Social, Cultural and Economic Puroro Rangaranga Committee on October 7th 2021, requesting that Council:

  1. seek opportunities with the Crown to partner in new social housing supply and Crown financial support for City Housing extending the Income-Related Rent Subsidy to Wellington City Housing tenants; and
  2. investigate establishing a Community Housing Provider model

Subsequent media portraying the realities of hardship experienced by tenants living in Council housing and a community meeting held by tenants on October 16th urging for access to the Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS), and, has profoundly influenced the Mayor on his next steps.

Mayor Foster says “This was one of the specific areas I identified for deeper work when we did our governance review earlier this year.

Hearing directly from a wide range of tenants on their real, everyday hardship has made very clear that we must find solutions, and do that together with the Government, our tenants and key social services organisations, so that our tenants have enough income left over after paying rent. We have 3500 tenants, many of whom are among the most marginalised in our community. This is about being kind and caring. It’s clear that Covid, housing market forces, and increases in the overall cost of living are exacerbating these challenges.

I am grateful to our tenants, E Tu Union, and Labour MP Paul Eagle for helping to uplift the voices of our tenants. In response I am announcing today, the establishment of a Mayoral taskforce to support the work Council is doing:

  • Developing solutions to ensure financial sustainability for our tenants and for our Wellington City Council social housing portfolio
  • Partnering with the Crown to deliver more Social and Affordable housing in Wellington
  • Increasing access and inclusion for Wellington’s diverse council housing tenants
  • Considering together the shape of any future Community Housing Provider (CHP) should that be the solution ultimately arrived at

The Taskforce will include councillors, and a wide range of Social Housing and Public Health Experts, and most importantly, tenants, to work together to secure safe, stable social housing for generations to come.

“We owe it to our tenants to look beyond ”band aid” solutions and work with them to create long-lasting, sustainable solutions.” says Mayor Foster.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free said “We are about working in the best interests of our tenants, who are under considerable financial stress and this needs to be addressed whatever the outcome. Our commitment is to work constructively and proactively with all stakeholders to a shared goal which is that our city housing tenants have access to IRRS on an equitable basis.”

Liz Kelly Ngāti Toa representative on Council said, an iwi perspective would support all tenants for an outcome that works in the best interests for all.

The Taskforce is intended to be operating from November and will report directly to Council, with a final report by June next year.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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