New partnership to help those in dire need into housing

A new Council, Māori NGO and Iwi-led housing partnership was launched today to coincide with the Government’s announcement of Te Maihi o te Whare Māori – a national Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation Framework for Action (MAIHI).

The partnership between Hutt City Council, Kahungunu Whānau Services, Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa, and Council-owned organisation, Urban Plus Limited, is the first of its kind in the country. It sets out a framework for building and delivering warm, safe and affordable homes to those Lower Hutt households in desperate need of a home. A key aim is to provide pathways for these families to permanent home-ownership over time.

Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says the partnership sets a new direction to address housing inequity across the city, by recognising that an insufficient supply of suitable and affordable housing is the key driver of homelessness.

“We have long known that over-crowding, homelessness, and a shortage of warm, dry and affordable homes causes great and avoidable hardship for too many members of our community, and imposes indirect costs on the entire city.

“We also know that because a higher proportion of Māori are on lower incomes, they are disproportionately affected by housing stress and struggle with the increasing costs of housing. I’m not prepared to leave these problems unanswered and that’s why we are enabling Urban Plus to work with Iwi-backed housing provider Kahungunu Whānau Services for the benefit of mana whenua and all people in our city.

“I’m incredibly proud that we have achieved this milestone today, and that we’re removing barriers to building new homes and home ownership.”

The name of the partnership gifted by Te Āti Awa – He Herenga Kura, He Herenga Tangata, He Herenga Whenua – A sacred connection that unites the people and binds us to the land sets the foundation for a sustainable and effective strategic partnership where new pathways and practices are adopted to enable healthy, thriving, secure and affordable homes to be built on across Lower Hutt.

Kura Moeahu Chair of Te Rūnanga o Te Atiawa says, “This is what partnership looks like. It’s about creating opportunities for our people. Soon enough we will see people thriving and living in safe, warm and healthy homes.

“These new housing developments will be places that are uniquely Māori and supported by a Māori community housing provider – this is about doing things differently and in a uniquely Māori way. The partners are looking forward to starting conversations with the community working to explore opportunities for development. This is a momentous and historical occasion and sets a strong foundation for our growth and prosperity as a community,” says Moeahu.

Te Roera Puna Chair of Kahungunu Whānau Services says, “Our role is to provide a tangata whenua response to ending homelessness, and to work with all members of the community to achieve this. We’ve been delivering health, social and community-led services for whānau across Wellington for almost fifty years and we’re delighted that we can bring our skills and experience formally to the table through this new partnership.”

Background information

The partners to He Herenga Kura, He Herenga Tangata, He Herenga Whenua will identify opportunities to support the development of aims, aspirations and outcomes for the development of homes in Lower Hutt Te Awa Kairangi. To achieve this the partners will:

  1. develop a joint strategy and action plan that ensures the development of healthy, secure, affordable homes for mana whenua and all people in Te Awa Kairangi; and
  2. build, develop and implement through a collaborative approach, develop policies, practices, systems, investments for achieving successful social housing outcomes through to home ownership

Urban Plus Ltd, the social housing and development arm of Hutt City Council is identifying sites to meet this housing need and deliver new builds under the partnership. Homes will start off initially as social rentals with the aim that, over time, the partnership can enable pathways to homeownership.

Current situation

Research Hutt City Council commissioned last year highlighted the fact that because a higher proportion of Māori in Lower Hutt are on lower incomes, they’re disproportionately affected by housing stress and struggle with housing costs.

Recent Statistics New Zealand figures show 22 per cent of Māori – 3400 people in Lower Hutt – live in crowded accommodation. 1290 Māori people live in severely crowded housing in Lower Hutt.

Housing quality – 1116 Māori in the city are living in homes that are always damp, while 5019 are living in homes that are sometimes damp. 1434 are living in homes which are always affected by mould while 3432 live in homes where this type of mould sometimes occurs. (Census 2018). The effects of living in homes which are damp and cold are well known.

Emergency housing grants – In terms of the ethnicity of households receiving emergency housing grants in the city, there is a clear indication that Māori are disproportionately affected. The last six months of available data show Māori have made up more than 50 per cent of emergency housing grant recipients, although they make up 20 per cent of the city’s population (18.4% of the population based on ethnicity).

Housing Register – Housing register data reflects the disproportionate impact of homelessness on Māori with 49% of the applicants on the register identifying as Māori.

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