Budget: Inadequate response to affordable housing problem

Two Catholic agencies have have welcomed more funding for emergency housing in the 2016 Budget.

However they say little has been done to address the urgent need for more long-term secure and affordable housing.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

Caritas says there is a noticeable lack of investment in building new homes.

Of the announced $258 million new spending over four years for housing, only $38.7 million is budgeted to be spent in the next financial year.

This is less than 5 percent of the $857 million budgeted for a new tax administration system.

“While emergency housing is essential, families need secure and affordable housing in the long term to truly make a difference for future generations,” says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

“Families and homes go together,”  she said.

Hickey says new investment to support the most vulnerable children is important, however every child needs a stable roof over their head and a family needs an adequate and stable income in order to flourish.

“The Budget does not substantially address key issues and concerns of the vulnerable in our community, in relation to secure and affordable housing, secure and adequate income and a social security system that meets the needs of families and individuals on a benefit.”

Read Caritas’ full press release

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Auckland

The Commission said that while more funding for emergency housing is welcome it is only temporary relief that will help a small number of homeless people.

It says more permanent housing to provide certainty for families is urgently needed.

“It is unclear how $200 million for 750 more social housing places over four years would have a significant impact on the present shortage.”

It is likely that this will not provide more state houses but will further the Government’s intentions to reduce state housing in a time of extreme need.”

The Commission’s view it is the responsibility of the Government itself to provide and maintain adequate and affordable stable housing for those unable to provide it for themselves.

It is disappointed that there are no immediate measures to alleviate the housing crisis, for example, upgrading vacant state houses to make them available for families in need of housing.

Read the Auckland Diocese’s JPC full press release


Additional reading

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