20 May 2022

Budget 2022: Housing investment 'a small, good thing that may help'

9:05 pm on 20 May 2022

The Salvation Army says housing boosts in the Budget will help some people stuck in the 'catastrophe', but they do not stretch far enough to properly address housing inequality.

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

As part of the Budget, the government is expanding an existing initiative which assists people moving into rental accommodation from transitional or emergency accommodation.

A housing-related hardship assistance payment includes funding for bonds, rent in advance, and moving costs, via a combination of recoverable payments and grants.

Salvation Army social policy analyst Paul Barber said this type of investment was a good start in supporting the most vulnerable people, for many of whom secure housing was currently unachievable.

"It's gone beyond a crisis for our people, we're calling it a catastrophe really," he said.

"It provides a chance for people to actually get into long-term secure housing and reduce the pressure on transitional housing, which is the issue at the moment."

Barber said ongoing support payments like the Accommodation Supplement should have also been increased for a more meaningful fix.

He said these payments enabled people to stay long-term in new rentals, or avoid slipping into homelessness due to rising financial pressures.

Barber commended a boost for supporting young homeless people into secure housing, with a $75 million investment over four years.

Another project will increase homeownership for Pacific people, who currently have the lowest rate of home-ownership in Aotearoa, at less than 20 percent.

The investment will see 300 homes for Pasifika families in Eastern Porirua over the next 10 years.

Barber said these investments would not solve widespread issues, but were a start.

"This is definitely not the answer but it's definitely a small, good thing that may help."

The government set aside a total of $2 billion to combat rising housing costs, focussing on affordable rental housing and first-home buyers.