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Lisa Woolley, CEO, VisionWest Community Trust - Case Study - Social Housing initiative in Auckland
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Lisa Woolley, CEO, VisionWest Community Trust - Case Study - Social Housing initiative in Auckland


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Lisa Woolley delivered the presentation at the 2014 NEW ZEALAND INFRASTRUCTURE SUMMIT. …

Lisa Woolley delivered the presentation at the 2014 NEW ZEALAND INFRASTRUCTURE SUMMIT.

The New Zealand Infrastructure Summit brings you the most up to date infrastructure news combining case studies and key presentations, addressing developments in the some of the main infrastructure hubs, such as Auckland and Christchurch.

For more information about the event, please visit:

Published in: Design, Business, Real Estate
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  • 1. VisionWest Community Trust Community Based Social Housing The New Zealand Infrastructure Summit 1st April 2014
  • 2. The Importance and the Need for Investment in Social and Affordable Housing Housing is one of the most basic human needs and all governments have a commitment to ensuring that affordable access to housing is possible to all citizens. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, 2008 The satisfaction of housing needs for all sections of the society is not merely challenging but resource intensive.
  • 6. RURAL NEW ZEALAND: Nelson/Tasman Region
  • 7. RURAL NEW ZEALAND: Nelson/Tasman Region
  • 8. Housing Key Facts (MBIE,2014)  Decline in home ownership: dropping from 75% in the early 90’s to now sitting around 65% and in Auckland from 64% in 2001 to 58% (1)  Increase in house prices: in Auckland median house prices have risen by 12% over the last year (2)  Cost of land: sections in Auckland account for around 60% of the cost of a new dwelling, compared with 40% in the rest of New Zealand (1)  Affordability: Median house prices (relative to disposable incomes) are the third highest amongst comparable(3) and house prices have risen to 5 times the annual household disposable income in 2010(1). Auckland is classed as severely unaffordable(3)
  • 9. Housing Key Facts (MBIE,2014)  Demand - Since 2001, NZ’s population has increased by 16.5% (4) and household size has declined thereby increasing housing formation and demand (1). Since 2001 Auckland’s population has increased 47.7% (4). Auckland’s population is predicted to increase to 2 million in 2031 (60% of New Zealand’s population growth over this period) (5). Approximately 400,000 dwellings will be needed to meet projected population growth in Auckland by 2040 – an average of 13,000 dwellings per year (6) Housing Key Facts (MBIE,2014)
  • 10. Housing Key Facts (MBIE,2014)  Supply: 20,000 – 23,000 new homes are required per year nationwide over the next five years (7), however, average building consent volumes over the last three years is less than 15,000 units per year (MBIE). The majority of new supply is large and relatively expensive houses or apartments targeted at the top end of the market. New houses on average are among the largest in the world (around 200m2) – double the size of houses in European countries (1). Auckland council has confirmed it is currently 20,000- 30,000 houses short and projected growth in Auckland until the Auckland Unitary Plan is operative is estimated to create a deficit of around 50,000 dwellings by 2016 (8) Housing Key Facts (MBIE,2014)
  • 11. Housing Key Facts (MBIE,2014)  Development: The average development contribution charged by councils has increased from $3,000 per section to $14,000 per section over the last decade, and increase of 360% (DIA/MBIE)  Construction: From 2002 – 2011, total construction costs have increased by 30% in real terms. The cost of building materials in NZ is approximately 30% higher than in Australia (1).  Rental market: The average weekly rent nationally for a three bedroom private house has increased from $280 in 2005 (9) to $359 in 2013, a 28% increase. In Auckland the increase has been from $440 in 2005 to $570 in 2013 (10) ,a 29% increase. Housing Key Facts (MBIE,2014)
  • 12. It is in this context of high demand and low supply of housing coupled with a vacuum of visionary social housing policy, that the most vulnerable people in New Zealand are further marginalised and excluded from what must surely be the right of every person in our society – access to safe, secure, healthy and affordable housing.
  • 13. Recent research from New Zealand suggests that one in every 120 people in New Zealand are facing homelessness or severe housing deprivation. We also know that many people who are homeless are never counted, living in caravan parks, in over crowded houses or boarding houses and are what is often referred to in literature as the ‘hidden homeless’. With an increasing lack of supply of safe, affordable and secure housing in regions such as Auckland and Christchurch, the issue of homelessness is intensifying. (Woolley, 2014)
  • 14. All of the participants of my research talked about their experiences of discrimination as a major barrier when trying to access appropriate and affordable housing in the private rental market. They talked about being judged on their appearance and ethnicity, their financial status, if they were employed or on a benefit, whether they had children and if they did, were they a single parent on a benefit. “…a lot of people didn’t like it that I was a solo mum. I had a landlord say to me ‘I’m not going to give you this house because I think you’re not going to be able to pay the rent. You’re on a benefit, no one will take you’. I’ve had a few landlords reject me just because I was on a benefit, just because of my income. Very hard. You do find a place it’s not up to your standard but you have to take it. What else do you do?” (Woolley, 2014)
  • 15. The Social Housing Reform Programme New Zealand has moved into the Social Housing Reform Programme (SHRP) which began in 2010 following the HSA Group report to the Ministers of Housing and Finance. The reform programme has four key outcomes including; “greater involvement of third-sector providers of social housing; Housing New Zealand focussed on providing social housing to those with high needs while their needs last; increased effectiveness of financial assistance and aligning organisation and responsibilities of Government agencies” (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, website page: sector information, 2013).
  • 16. Under the current Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme, HNZC’s role has been redefined to provide affordable accommodation for the people who are most in need, for the duration of that need and the community housing sector is being encouraged to increase the supply of affordable housing, providing a pathway for people who are moving out of state housing and for those who are not able to access state housing. Reports note that “wrap around” services are a key element when providing social housing to ensure on-going improvements for the health and wellbeing for social housing tenants. (New Zealand Productivity Commission, 2012) The Social Housing Reform ProgrammeThe Social Housing Reform Programme
  • 17. “The Government’s ambition is to grow the community housing sector to provide 20% of New Zealand’s social housing over the next five years” (Minister of Housing Dr Nick Smith, 2014) The Social Housing Reform Programme
  • 18. The Growth of the Community Housing Sector Research in 2007 states that housing stock owned by the community housing sector in New Zealand is estimated to be between 2,100 – 5,400 units (CHRANZ, 2007) and the sector today is often referred to as having a stock of 5,000 although this is hard to qualify. This is compared to a social housing portfolio of 11,000 units with the local authorities and 69,000 with HNZC. From 2003-2011 The Government, through the Housing Innovation Fund, invested $114,516,998 in housing grants and loans
  • 19. Social Housing Fund Summary 2011/12 - 2013/14 Region Grant Committed $ Project Value $ Number of Units Number of Bedrooms Auckland $ 52,048,959 $ 128,136,416 311 803 Canterbury $ 16,137,352 $ 33,252,181 114 238 Other NZ Markets $ 15,856,666 $ 36,187,769 123 286 Maori Providers Including Putea Maori $ 16,261,703 $ 27,393,427 92 265 Weymouth $ 29,000,000 $ 58,000,000 169 619 Total Capacity Building/Sector Development $ 897,139 N/A N/A N/A Total Funding Committee $ 130,201,819 $ 282,969,793 809 2,211 Social Housing Unit As part of the Social Housing Reform Programme, the Social Housing Unit was formed. From 2011-2014 the Social Housing Unit has allocated over $130 million to Community Housing Providers (CHP’s)
  • 20. 20 VisionWest Community Housing A Case Study
  • 21.  Formed in 1988 as the Friendship Centre Trust, by Glen Eden Baptist Church to help people in need in West Auckland.  The services have grown based on the needs of the community.  Services now include; o Home Healthcare o Budgeting Service o Training Centre o Christian Kindergarten o Community Housing o Foodbank & Op Shop o Counselling Centre o Community Care including: o Chaplaincy Service o School Uniform & Curtain Bank Introduction to VisionWest Community Trust
  • 22. Vision
  • 23. VisionWest cares for approx 1400 people every week in the community 375 Employees & Volunteers work at VisionWest
  • 24. annual turnover has grown from $960 in 1989 to $9.8 million in 2013
  • 25. 11,500 people supported 375 employees & volunteers
  • 26. VisionWest Community Housing
  • 27. Ten years ago housing was identified as a major issue Waitakere City; → Waitakere had one of the largest HNZC waiting lists in NZ → Our clients were living in cars; under houses; caravan parks; couch surfing; or living in over crowded situations → Started with Emergency Housing in 2004 and moved into long term supportive housing → Through our partnership with HNZ and now the Social Housing Unit VisionWest now has the following stock; → 32 long term houses → 4 Emergency houses (leased from HNZC) → Building 38 houses over 2014/2015 Emergency & Long Term Supportive Housing
  • 28. Partnership with Unitec & SGA - Forest Hill Rd Current Housing Projects
  • 29. Current Housing Projects
  • 30. Architecture Awards • Sustainable Architecture & Housing
  • 31. Current Housing Projects • Forest Hill Rd Floor: ‘Flexus’ Floor, concrete/ timber modular system. (Modular Floor Systems) Roof: ‘Thermospan’ FR Insulated Proof Panel (SIP) (Metalcraft) Walls: ‘Thermax’ (SIP) structurally insulated Panels (Hallmark Group)
  • 32. Current Housing Projects • Glen Eden
  • 33. Current Housing Projects • Forest Hill Rd
  • 34. Current Housing Projects • Triangle Rd
  • 35. Partnerships → Housing NZ – Housing Innovation Fund (HIF) → Social Housing Unit (SHU) → ASB Community Trust → Other Funders; → Skycity Community Trust → Kiwibank → Unitec → SGA → Keith Hay Homes → Community Housing Aotearoa → Auckland Housing Providers Network
  • 36. → Based on a “Housing First” model. → Housing Social Worker works alongside families to address underlying social issues as needed. → Rents based on approx 80% of market rentals. → Families can stay long-term in accommodation. Reviewed based on changed circumstances. → Tenancy can be extended after consultation. → People can stay for 3-4 months in the emergency accommodation and the Housing Social Worker with the family to try and access long-term accommodation. How the supportive housing model works
  • 37. Stories of Hope & Transformation Homelessness Overcrowding Broken relationships Addictions Abuse & Trauma Children living in poverty & going from school to school Community & a support network Access support – life skills Access resources – budgeting, counselling Social worker guidance Training & Work Opportunities Stability Hope Restoration Better health for children & families Better education outcomes for children
  • 38. Participants in the research project talked about the courses they had been attending and about training and employment in the future and one of the participants talked about how different her life is now that she has the space to look to the future, “Living in the situation we were living in it was just surviving. It wasn’t really living, I would never had the time to ring the Unitec. I wouldn’t have even bothered you know….cause I never used to think of the future….I wouldn’t have ever had the courage to go and do any sort of studies. I mean it took me 2 years of seeing Mary Anne and Jill and Janine just to build my confidence up to even go and do foundations [studies at Unitec].” (Woolley,2014)
  • 39. → First goal – 50 houses (nearly there) → 200 – 500 houses → Growing off this foundation → Priority growth areas; → West Auckland → Wider Auckland region → Christchurch → Areas for Strategic Development; → Youth Housing → Caravan Park Strategic Vision
  • 40. → Working in partnership with Government; → Through the Social Housing Unit as a pre-qualified provider → Housing NZ → Ministry of Social Development (MSD) – Income Related Rents → Local Council → Philanthropic Funders → Investors → Banks → Social lending organisations → Corporates & Local Businesses → Developers How we will implement the vision
  • 41. • SHU Funding $141m over 4 years – not adequate to grow the housing stock needed • Land availability & land prices • Rising costs ( Dev contribution $30K) • 80% market rent • Timeframes • Scale & geographic spread • Cashflow • Income related rents for CHP’s capped at $26.6m over 4 years Challenges
  • 42. → Defining Homelessness and Counting the Numbers → Growth and Development of Supportive Housing and the Housing First Model → Training and Development of Housing Social Workers → Creating a more Equitable Financial Assistance Framework → Healthy Homes → Social Housing Stakeholder Engagement Group Recommendations for the Future
  • 43. Finally, In New Zealand there does not appear to be a clearly understood or articulated vision and strategy for social housing and how to support people out of homelessness that can be agreed upon across the political parties. In the international literature we see that some countries have introduced a rights based approach to end homelessness and have embedded strategies such as a national homelessness strategy into legislation which ensures that the development of social housing and addressing issues such as homelessness continue to be addressed regardless of the political party in government. (Woolley, 2014) → Vision, Strategy and Policy Development for Social Housing in New Zealand
  • 44. References: 1. New Zealand Productivity Commission, 2012 ‘Housing Affordability Inquiry’ 2. Reserve Bank of New Zealand (April, 2013) ‘Reserve Bank Perspective on Housing’ 3. Demographia (2013) ‘9th annual Demographia international housing affordability survey’ 4. Statistics New Zealand, 2001 and Census and 2013 population estimate. 5. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (2013) ‘Regional Economic Activity Report’ 6. Auckland Council (2012) ‘The Auckland Plan’ 7. Office of the Minister of Finance (2012) ‘Response to the Productivity Commission Report on its inquiry into housing affordability’ Cabinet paper 8. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (March 2013) ‘Housing Affordability: Residential Land Available in Auckland’. 9. Department of Building and Housing, Market Rent Analysis 2010 – 2013 10. Crockers Market Research (May 2013) using Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data. References: Centre for Housing Research, Aotearoa New Zealand (CHRANZ). (2007). Affordable Housing: The Community Housing Sector in New Zealand. Prepared by Capital Strategy/SGS Economics and Planning. Smith, N. (2013). New era for social housing after bill passes. http://www.beehive/ Woolley, L.J. (2014). Housing Support Services for Families/Whanau and individuals who have experienced homelessness in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Unpublished research.
  • 45. Community Housing 45