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Social housing changes to house people sooner

Changes to discourage people from refusing reasonable social housing offers will help house vulnerable New Zealanders sooner, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

“Some people on the social housing register are unrealistically picky when they are offered a property,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Every year people are refusing offers of hundreds of social housing properties without a good reason and this is holding up others from getting into warm, dry and adequate homes.

“Cabinet has approved changes to the placement process to get people with genuine needs housed sooner.”

The changes include:

• Reducing from three to one the number of times a person can decline a home without a good and sufficient reason before they are removed from the social housing register.
• Where reasonable, requiring people on the social housing register to name a minimum of three suburbs they could live in, up from one.

“Every case will be assessed on its merits and most people who decline a house have a good reason for doing so such as health, safety or security concerns,” Mrs Bennett says.

Nearly 10,000 social housing offers were made last year and of those 3,453 were declined, with 414 for unacceptable reasons such as wanting a garage or a bigger back yard.

Under the changes people who refuse a property without a good reason may be removed from the social housing register for 13 weeks.

Increasing the number of geographical options on social housing applications to three will only apply where it’s geographically possible and reasonable to do so.

As at 30 June 2015 around 500 people on the social housing register had nominated only one preferred area to live in.

The changes will come into effect in January next year following consultation with social housing providers.


Tags: social housing

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