We came into government facing a housing crisis. Poor rental standards and homelessness affect too many Wellingtonians. Buying a house has been out of reach for too many New Zealanders. With our comprehensive plan across social, rental and private housing, we are addressing this long term issue.
We are building modern, high quality social housing for those who need it. Across the country, we have built a record 2,206 state houses in the two years since we have been in government, with even more on the way. In Wellington Central, we are working with Wellington City Council to develop up to 300 homes on the old Arlington site in Mt Cook. Developments like these go a long way to addressing the social and affordable housing needs the city has.
For our homeless, we are introducing our acclaimed Housing First programme to Wellington. About 60 – 80 Wellingtonians are sleeping rough, and Housing First aims to house 200 people over the next two years.
Housing First is a complete rethink of our approach to addressing homelessness. People are given a house, without precondition, and are then provided wraparound services to address complex mental health or addiction needs. It is hard to address mental health issues without a warm, safe place to call home. We are seeing Housing First do real good in people’s lives, and I am excited to see it introduced to Wellington.
With the KiwiBuild reset, we are making buying a house more accessible. We are making it easier for families to buy a house together with a new progressive ownership scheme. It makes it easier for families to buy houses together, reducing the deposit and mortgage repayments needed for each individual.
Government backed mortgages will now only require a 5% deposit to increase accessibility. A lot of people have trouble buying a home because deposits are too high. These initiatives will make it easier for low and middle income New Zealanders get into the housing market.
Like many other priorities for this government, this is a long term challenge that requires long term thinking, but also immediate action. These challenges take time, and we are getting on with the job.