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Emergency housing costs hit $1m for past six months

Masterton housing. PHOTO/FILE

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The amount spent in Wairarapa on government funded emergency housing in the first half of 2019 was $157,727 but in the first half of this year it was $1,056,083, which is seven times more.

This is an increase of nearly $900,000 in just 12 months, according to Housing and Urban Development housing quarterly reports.

In the March 2020 quarter Carterton EH applicant numbers were so low that to publish them would breach individual privacy. The cost of Carterton EH was $5705 but for the June quarter it went up to $15,861.

South Wairarapa had only six approved applications for the March quarter at a spend of $2151 but for the June quarter had a large increase to 21 applicants and a spend of $25,931.

Masterton has had the biggest increase in approved applications. The Ministry of Social Development approved 221 applicants during the March quarter and 366 in the June quarter. The cost doubled, going from $334,300 to $672,135, respectively.

MSD national figures show the June quarter spending on EH increased to $79.3m, up from $54.1m in the March quarter. A person only goes to EH when, ‘every other avenue has been exhausted’.

It is usually provided by hoteliers and moteliers.

An MSD spokesperson said emergency housing was meant to be used for only seven days, but stays have been longer since the covid-19 crisis struck.

“Across the country there is a growing need for public housing,” Regional Commissioner for Central region Katie Brosnahan said.

“Housing in general is in short supply and rental prices are rising. New Zealand’s most vulnerable individuals and families are among those most affected.”

Nationally there were 18,520 applicants on the government Housing Register as at June 30, an increase of 50.4 per cent compared with the same time last year.

The register includes applicants not in public housing who have been assessed as eligible, and who are ready to be matched to a suitable property.

Wairarapa now has 166 applicants on the register as recorded in the June report compared with 138 in the March quarter.

Social housing provider, Trust House has 105 individuals on its waiting list for accommodation. It does not provide transitional housing or emergency housing for those registered with MSD.

People come to them independently.

Emerge Aotearoa provides transitional housing in Masterton and is in talks with HUD about the plans for a new affordable housing development in Iorns St North.


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