14 Apr 2014

Social housing changes welcomed

11:08 am on 14 April 2014

The Housing Minister is hailing social housing reforms as historic, saying they will allow tenants access to a broader range of support.

A Vision West house in the Auckland suburb of Ranui.

A Vision West house in the Auckland suburb of Ranui. Photo: RNZ / Lauren Baker

From Monday, 32 registered community housing providers can apply for income-related rent-subsidies, previously available only to Housing New Zealand.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says it will lead to a more diverse range of housing being available, and community groups can provide extra help, such as mental health support.

The head of Auckland community housing provider Vision West the changes will give people more choice about where they can live and allow providers to expand.

Chief executive Lisa Woolley says the extra money will enable them to grow and therefore make even more homes available.

Other reforms include the Ministry of Social Development taking responsibility for the state house waiting list, debt recovery, and the introduction of tenancy reviews in July.

Under the reviews people living in social houses whose finances have improved may be asked to move out so a family judged to need the house more can move in.