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Council investigating ways to secure older persons’ housing in Kāpiti

15 Dec 2023, 10:01 AM

A comprehensive review of Kāpiti Coast District Council’s older persons’ housing portfolio has identified alternative operating models that could improve affordability and services for tenants while providing a more financially sustainable model for community housing provision.

Kāpiti Coast District Mayor Janet Holborow says ensuring affordable housing for pensioners in Kāpiti is a key priority for Council.

“Working with our Older Persons’ Council, we have developed an age-friendly approach to help older people live their best lives and meeting their needs for current and future generations,” says Mayor Holborow.

“Our current older persons’ housing portfolio currently comprises 118 units in 10 locations throughout Kāpiti for qualifying older persons. All available housing is fully occupied with approximately 60 prospective tenants currently on a wait list.

“A recent review found current housing stock doesn’t meet additional accessibility requirements, meaning prospective tenants with mobility needs can’t be accommodated.

“What we’ve discovered through this review – which will not come as a surprise to anyone – is that our older person’s housing provision is not adequately meeting the needs of our community.

“Through our Long-term Plan 2024–34, Council will consult with the community on alternative operating models that look to support portfolio growth, financial viability, and better access to community housing.

“Council’s preferred option is to establish a community housing provider and transfer existing housing assets to this new entity.”

Community housing providers can access an income-related rent subsidy and an operating supplement for new housing developments, or through negotiation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

This means they can set rent at 25 percent of the tenant’s net income and government covers the difference between the tenant’s rental payment and the market rent for the property, providing subsided rents for tenants and market-rent income for the provider.

Mayor Holborow says currently councils are not eligible for this subsidy, which means Kāpiti Coast District Council must either cover the difference or push costs onto tenants, which we know our tenants can’t afford.

“This restricts our ability to grow the portfolio and is why we think establishing a community housing provider entity would offer a better more well-rounded service and opportunities to extend the portfolio size.

“Older persons’ housing is an important issue, and our community is at the heart of the decision-making process. It’s essential we take the time to get it right.

“The first step was to understand the current state of our older persons' housing portfolio and where it needs to improve to meet current and future needs. The second step was to investigate the options that are available to us so we can grow and improve the service and provide security for our tenants.

“The next step is to go to our community for consultation, to make sure we’re taking all the relevant factors into consideration. This will occur in March next year.”

Visit our website for more information on the older persons’ housing review.