The Government will provide $27 million to help Auckland City Mission build a new 80-unit complex in the heart of Auckland to house some of the city’s most vulnerable people, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams has announced.
“We want all New Zealanders to have somewhere warm and safe to stay and we are determined to do all we can to provide those sleeping rough with the support they need to lead better lives,” Ms Adams says.
“Auckland City Mission have unveiled a $75 million project, which will help those in need and provide permanent accommodation for rough sleepers and vulnerable Aucklanders.
“It will be a base from where essential community and social services can be delivered, ensuring wraparound support for people with complex needs so we can help address the causes of their homelessness,” Ms Adams says.
Auckland City Mission will redevelop its central Auckland premises into 80 new studio and one-bedroom units. The first three floors will house the Mission’s services and the rest of the building will contain housing.
“The Government will provide $27 million in funding towards the project, with the Auckland City Mission and wider Auckland community contributing the remainder of the cost,” Ms Adams says.
“The Government will then provide ongoing operational funding through the Income-Related Rent Subsidy, taking the total Government funding to around $78 million over 25 years.”
The new complex will start next year and is expected to be completed mid-2020.
“This project is a result of the Request for Proposal issued in July last year. Chris Farrelly and his team at the Auckland City Mission do extraordinary work supporting some Auckland’s most vulnerable and we are very pleased to support them as they extend their reach to even more people in need,” Ms Adams says.
The new complex comes on the back of 150 chronic rough sleeping Aucklanders already having been helped off the streets in the first months of the $4.7 million Auckland Housing First Initiative - a collaboration between the Government and Auckland Council which will help 472 chronically homeless Aucklanders in two years. The Government has also announced today an expansion of Housing First to help another 500 rough sleepers in centres like Tauranga, Christchurch and Wellington and an expansion of the Auckland programme.
The successful Housing First programme is being expanded into more regions across New Zealand to help end chronic homelessness, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams has announced.
“We don’t want anyone living on the street and the expansion of Housing First will provide help for up to 500 more high need individuals into permanent housing and address the root causes of their homelessness through the provision of targeted, one-on-one wraparound services,” Ms Adams says.
“Housing First is delivering results in Auckland and Hamilton. We want more people across New Zealand who are sleeping rough to be supported into stable housing, and provided with the broader help they need to improve their lives.”
The additional Housing First places are being allocated as follows:Auckland – 100 places on top of the 472 already provided for Christchurch – up to 100 places Tauranga – up to 100 places Wellington (including Lower Hutt) – up to 150 places.
“These locations have been identified based on the estimates of demand in those locations and the likelihood of suitable providers being available.”
Funding of $500,000 over two years will also be provided for Hamilton’s People Project so they can continue their successful Housing First work in the city.
The Government invested $16.5 million in Budget 2017 to expand Housing First into areas of high need across the country, and today’s announcement sets where those places will be allocated.
“Many of our chronically homeless are grappling with complex problems, such as mental health issues or addiction to drugs or alcohol,” Ms Adams says.
“Housing First quickly moves rough sleepers into appropriate housing and then immediately provides tailored wrap-around services to address the issues that led to their homelessness.”
International results consistently confirm that 80 per cent of people who receive Housing First services retain their housing and do not return to homelessness.
In Auckland, 150 homeless people have already been helped off the streets during the first months of the $4.7 million Auckland Housing First Initiative - a collaboration between the Government and Auckland Council.
New training and education programmes for prosecutors, court staff and the judiciary to better understand the impacts of sexual violence on victims will help improve victims’ experiences of the court process, says Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams.
“We know that sexual violence has the lowest reporting rate of all offences, caused in part by victims’ concerns about the court process,” Ms Adams says.
“Victims’ trauma can be made worse if those involved in the court process are unfamiliar with the effects of sexual offending on victims, including anxiety, fear and self-blame.
“That’s why we’re investing $1.24 million in a package of initiatives to build better understanding which will help make victims’ experiences of the justice system less traumatic and more accessible.”
The funding, which comes from the Justice Sector Fund, will enable the Institute of Judicial Studies to provide judicial education and will deliver new Solicitor-General’s guidelines for prosecuting sexual violence cases.
“In addition, it will develop new online guidance and information with input from specialists so that victims and their supporters can easily access information explaining what help is available, how sexual violence offences are investigated and what to expect in the court process,” Ms Adams says.
“These initiatives form a component of the Government’s wider investment in sexual violence prevention and supporting victims. They will build on existing good practice such as the Sexual Violence Court pilot and the Victims Code, as well as the work being done by the Chief Victims’ Advisor and the National Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate.”
The initiatives implement operational changes recommended in the Law Commission report on the justice response to victims of sexual violence. The Government is continuing to consider other recommendations that require legislative change.
Over 190 local Palmerston North families will be helped into a warm, dry place to stay through the Government’s social housing plans for the city.
“We’re building 70 new social houses, which is on top of the 1436 social houses we have in Palmerston North right now. Our plans for 30 short-term transitional housing places will benefit 120 local families every year,” Social Housing Minister Amy Adams says.
“We’ve made a commitment to help New Zealanders with housing when times are tough, and our plans for Palmerston North will help families in need into a warm, dry place to stay.
“We’re on track to have all 30 short-term transitional housing places available by the end of the year, and expect to see the 70 new social houses coming on board over the next three years.
“Housing New Zealand are currently reviewing their stock and vacant land across New Zealand. It’s my expectation that where land is redeveloped, at least 20 per cent is affordable,” Ms Adams says.
“We’ve already secured 29 of the transitional housing places in Palmerston North, meaning that we’re already in a position to help 116 local families this year, with more places scheduled to open in the coming weeks and months,” says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“This is about more than just housing. The investment of $354 million the Government made last year into transitional housing recognises that many of our struggling families are facing some tough challenges. That’s why we’ve partnered with some fantastic community housing providers to make sure they’re getting further help to get back on their feet – from budgeting advice to cooking lessons or parenting support.
“Providers like The Salvation Army and Women's Refuge in Palmerston North go above and beyond to help lift our vulnerable people into a position where they can move on to and sustain long-term housing,” says Mr Ngaro.
Each week, the Government spends over $982,000 to supporting around 20,000 households in the wider Manawatu-Wanganui region with their housing costs.
Across the wider Manawatu-Wanganui region, the Government has plans to bring on 165 additional social houses and 66 short-term transitional housing places – to a total of 2690 social houses across the region. This is in addition to the Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants that are also available to local families in need of somewhere urgent to stay.
About our plan for social housing:
This year, the Government will spend $2.3 billion supporting 310,000 households with their accommodation. Additionally, those seeking immediate shelter can access a Special Needs Grant for accommodation. We have invested $354 million to help 8600 families every year with a warm, safe place to stay. We are also growing the number of social houses available, from 66,000 today to 72,000 by 2020.
What is the difference between social and transitional housing?
Both social and transitional housing may be run by community housing providers.
Transitional housing differs from social housing in that tenants generally only stay for 12 weeks in the property while they are helped to find long-term housing. While there they also receive additional support tailored to their needs. This could include things like budgeting advice, cooking lessons or parenting support. People receive a further 12 weeks of support once they’ve moved into their new property to help them settle in.
What is a ‘housing’ place?
A place may be a freestanding house or a unit in a wider complex. With regard to transitional housing places it refers also to availability over a year. For example a freestanding house used for transitional housing may be classed as four places because four families can be housed there every year.
The Government is extending the successful Crown Land Programme to Queenstown, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams announced today.
“As it grows, Queenstown is facing challenges with housing supply. The average house price is the highest in the country at over a million dollars. While demand is high, businesses are struggling to attract and retain staff, which is affecting the local economy,” says Ms Adams.
“Increasing the land available for housing will help rebalance the market, which is why the Government is focused on bringing more surplus Crown land into the market.
“We want to explore vacant or underutilised Crown land within walking distance to Queenstown’s town centre that can be developed into social, affordable and market housing.”
“The Government is exploring vacant Crown sites around Queenstown. MBIE officials are working closely with the Ministry of Education in respect of the potential acquisition of the old Wakatipu High School site.”
The Crown Land Programme casts an eye over land that had been previously set aside for future public facilities, such as roads or schools, to see if it can be used for housing. It helps increase housing supply, accelerates construction and helps build social and affordable housing.
“Through this programme, 400 new houses have been built in Christchurch and another 2700 are being built in Auckland on Crown land. In Budget 2017, we invested an additional $100 million to extend the programme to areas outside of Auckland,” says Ms Adams.
“Under the programme as a whole, the Government has committed at least 20 per cent of the homes being available for social housing and a further 20 per cent priced as affordable – defined as no more than the KiwiSaver HomeStart cap – although the exact configuration will vary from site to site,” Ms Adams says.
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed today between the Crown and Ngāi Tahu Property to explore options to develop vacant or under-utilised parcels of Crown land in Queenstown for housing developments.
“Both the Government and Ngāi Tahu Property have strong interests in creating quality housing to build stronger communities and ensuring new developments reflect local needs,” says Ms Adams.
“Before any Crown land in Queenstown can be sold for housing, it is subject to a right of first refusal in favour of Ngāi Tahu under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998. It therefore makes sense for us to partner with them early in the process.”
The ability of agencies to verify the identity of high-risk offenders will be strengthened following the passage of the Enhancing Identity Verification and Border Processes Legislation Bill, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“The Bill will improve public safety by enabling justice, identity and border agencies to share information with each other to identify offenders and ensure they meet the conditions of their sentence,” says Ms Adams.
The reforms are part of a wider Government response to the inquiry into the escape of Phillip Smith/Traynor, which highlighted the need for agencies to be able to share and manage information in the justice sector more efficiently.
“We need to ensure that high-risk offenders cannot hide who they are through the use of multiple aliases, or leave New Zealand without permission, just as Mr Smith/Traynor did,” says Ms Adams.
“This Bill will provide certain agencies with real-time access to up-to-date and unalterable information to enable them to identify offenders and protect New Zealanders from harm.
“The Bill strikes the right balance between upholding public safety and protecting the privacy of individuals by providing clear parameters around the circumstances in which information can be accessed.”
Alongside the existing privacy protections outlined in the Privacy Act, these parameters include limiting the information that can be shared to identity information (for example, passport information), limiting the agencies that can share it and the circumstances under which they can do so.
The Government will spend $35.8 million over the next year helping tenants living in cold, damp conditions to warm up their homes, Social Housing Minister and Housing New Zealand Minister Amy Adams has announced.
“We know that insulated homes are easier to heat and cheaper to keep warm. Warmer homes mean fewer visits to the doctor and less time off work or school. It also helps reduce diseases, such as respiratory illnesses and rheumatic fever,” says Ms Adams.
“All Housing New Zealand social houses, where possible, have been insulated. More than 85 per cent, or around 50,300 social houses are fully insulated, with the rest insulated where practical. But we want to ensure that our social housing is warmer, drier and healthier for our tenants.
“An investment of $35.8 million over the next financial year will see 10,200 social houses upgraded with new heating, ventilation and thermal curtains under the Warm and Dry programme.”
- fitting triple-weave curtains in living and dining rooms, and bedrooms
- installing a fixed form of heating in the living area
- putting in extraction fan in the bathroom and range-hood in the kitchen
- installing carpet or vinyl over bare floors.
“The Warm and Dry programme is helping make homes warmer and healthier on a scale we have never seen before.
“Since June 2015, 25,630 households throughout New Zealand have had their homes warmed up under the Warm and Dry programme at a cost of $81.3 million,” says Ms Adams.
“This is all part of the $1.4 billion that Housing New Zealand has spent over the last three years on maintenance and upgrades to its social housing.”
The Government is providing warm and safe housing for those New Zealanders who need a helping hand, says Social Housing Minister Amy Adams.
“We’re committed to helping vulnerable New Zealanders who need help with housing. That's why we spend over $6 million each day helping 310,000 New Zealanders with their housing and accommodation costs,” says Ms Adams.
“Under this Government, there is a record investment in social and emergency accommodation. Last year we announced our plans to grow the number of social houses available, from 66,400 today to 72,000 over the next three years.
“In Auckland, we’re undertaking the biggest housing project since the 1950s, building 34,000 new houses over the next 10 years. This is on top of the hundreds more social houses being built in areas of high-demand, like Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton.
“We’re also taking action that no other Government has to tackle homelessness, which includes our $20 million investment into Housing First to help long-term chronically homeless into secure housing.
“For the first time, the Government is providing permanent funding to transitional housing – helping 8600 families every year with a warm, safe place to stay while they get back on their feet while providing wraparound social support. Special needs grants for emergency housing are also available to people in urgent need so no one needs to sleep in a car.
“This is on top of the $2 billion Families Incomes Package announced in Budget 2017, which will help 136,000 lower-income families meet their living costs through our changes to the Accommodation Supplement.
“Our social housing reforms are working for those in need. We’ve changed a system that was focused on simply providing a house, to one that is providing better tailored, wraparound support to help people get back on their feet, while also increasing overall supply.”
The Government has today announced details of the $100 million social investment fund for mental health, says Social Investment Minister Amy Adams and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.
The $100 million fund will be invested in a package of 17 new initiatives aimed at helping New Zealanders suffering from mental health issues, as well as focusing on improving services and earlier intervention.
This fund is part of a $224 million boost for mental health services over four years in Budget 2017. It builds on the Government’s continued investment in this area, increasing from $1.1 billion in 2008/09 to $1.4 billion in 2016/17.
“Mental health is a social investment priority for this Government. It’s one of our most challenging social issues and it affects a large number of New Zealanders with complex needs,” Ms Adams says.
“We want to help individuals and their families through the challenges they are facing so they can lead healthier and more independent lives and we will need to bring together a range of services and targeted new approaches to do so.
“With this in mind, we have brought together Ministers, their agencies and experts to deliver a truly cross-Government approach to mental health and to allocate the fund.”
“In line with international trends we’ve seen an increase in demand for mental health and addiction services here in recent years,” Dr Coleman says.
“The evidence shows that we need to transform our mental health services to build resilience in children and young people to help them better deal with mental health issues and to learn how to overcome known risk factors like trauma.
“The $100 million package invests in a range of initiatives designed to improve access to effective and responsive mental health services, while at the same time starting to shift our focus towards prevention, early intervention and resilience-building.
“The 17 new initiatives intend to:
- Begin reorienting our approach to mental health towards a focus on prevention, early intervention and resilience-building (focused particularly on school-aged children and young people).
- Provide a more effective range of responses to meet the needs of people in crisis (or at risk of a crisis situation), as well as upskilling the mental health workforce.
- Expand distance and e-therapy options, which will enable provision of support earlier, in a more accessible manner.
- Extend the coverage of supports for people experiencing mild to moderate mental disorders.
- Build the New Zealand evidence base in this area through adapting, trialling and evaluating programmes or approaches from overseas.
“This package forms part of a wider programme of work to prevent and respond to mental disorders,” Dr Coleman says.
A re-elected National Government will continue its focus on keeping New Zealanders safe by cracking down on the most serious young offenders and holding negligent parents to account.
“Our youth justice system works well for the vast majority of young offenders and our relentless focus on reducing crime has seen the youth crime rate drop 31 per cent. However there remains a small group of around 150 young people who continue to commit large numbers of serious offences,” National’s Justice Spokesperson Amy Adams says.
“These are young people who have been in and out of Youth Court but have shown no willingness or ability to change their behaviour. We are not prepared to just sit back and allow their victims to keep racking up until they reach adulthood.
“We want New Zealanders to be safe in their homes, at work, and on the streets, so we will introduce a $60 million package over four years that will deal with the most violent and recidivist young offenders more seriously, to reduce reoffending.
“We will introduce a Young Serious Offender (YSO) classification which will see this very small group of the most hardened young offenders dealt with in ways that better reflect the seriousness of their crimes and help ensure fewer people are victimised.
“As a part of this, we will establish a defence-led Junior Training Academy based at the Waiouru Training Camp. Judges will be able to order YSOs who commit serious subsequent offences to attend the Academy for one year. The Academy will support YSOs to address problems like addiction or a lack of literacy and numeracy skills, helping them lead better lives while keeping the public safe.
“Those who fail to complete their time at the Academy will serve a commensurate adult sentence of imprisonment instead.”
It is estimated that approximately 50 YSOs per year will be sent to the Junior Training Academy. $30 million over four years has been allocated to fund the YSO scheme.
We're dealing with the toughest kids with the worst records who have taken almost no notice of their obligations to the community pic.twitter.com/a9qMLSqEoq— NZ National Party (@NZNationalParty) August 14, 2017
Other changes under the YSO classification will include tightening bail requirements, increasing the use of electronic monitoring, and removing the ability for these most serious young offenders to be released early from any youth justice custodial sentences.
A new National Government will also take further steps to help prevent less serious young offenders moving along the pathway to more serious crime.
“In many cases, young people who offend have few good role models or are given the freedom to commit crimes. We will make changes to hold their parents to account, including by allowing Police to issue instant infringement notices to parents of children under 14 walking the streets without supervision between 12am and 5am,” Ms Adams says.
“In addition, any breaches of court orders directed at a young person’s parent will be recorded on that parent’s criminal record. A loophole means this is not the case currently.
“We will also introduce a contestable fund of $30 million over four years for community groups to support programmes to reduce offending, because we know local solutions are often the best, and we want to give smaller or rural communities the opportunity to take further action.
“National is proud to be the law and order party, that is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe, supporting victims, and addressing the drivers of crime.”