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Habitat welcomes Government housing reforms

Jan 30, 2015

Affordable housing provider Habitat for Humanity is welcoming the Government’s announcements on social housing direction saying it is a step in the right direction.
Habitat for Humanity Acting CEO Nic Greene says the Prime Minister’s announcement this week with more detail around the Government’s plan shows it remains committed to the housing discussion and engaging with community housing providers to find solutions to housing issues across New Zealand.

“As a provider of both affordable and social housing, Habitat would like to see more discussion and policy detail relating to providing pathways for people toward home ownership. Habitat for Humanity’s home ownership model is a hybrid that allows families to firstly rent homes, receive educational and other wrap around services before transitioning into an ownership phase,” Nic Greene says.

“With home ownership rates declining in New Zealand the need for families to secure their housing future remains a priority for Habitat. For many people trapped in the rental market, simple and affordable home ownership options are a must.”

He says Habitat for Humanity is also pleased that the Government is realistic with its price expectations around housing asset sales.”For community groups to acquire, and in many cases repair existing stock, requires not just ongoing cashflow but also subsidised sales prices. It is important the Government acknowledges that funding is required for this and the extra support services that community housing organisation provide.”

Nic Greene says another area of concern for Habitat and other providers of home ownership schemes is the ongoing uncertainty of tax exempt status which is currently under review.

“We would encourage the Government to also seek engagement with community providers on tax exemption as they are with housing reform as they are intrinsically linked. This issue is currently undermining housing reform discussions and creating great uncertainty by questioning the charitable nature of such work. Habitat operates as a charity around the globe and a change in status in New Zealand would be out of step with the global community.

“Overall it is a great start and Habitat is looking forward to more dialogue over the coming months,” he says.