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Government plans to buy and rent about 800 more houses, and set up 'temporary housing villages' as part of $300m investment to reduce homelessness

Government plans to buy and rent about 800 more houses, and set up 'temporary housing villages' as part of $300m investment to reduce homelessness
Example of post-quake temporary housing in Christchurch. Image from Hawkins.

The Government is promising to increase the number of transitional housing places available by at least a third, by the end of the year.

It is committing to investing $175 million in finding 1000 additional houses/units/rooms to provide short-term accommodation for people who don’t have anywhere to live.

As at December 31, 3,043 households were in transitional housing. People living in transitional housing pay rent of up to 25% of their income, which is in line with income-related rents for public housing.

The plan is to create 1000 additional places by doing the following (numbers are approximations):

- Renting properties (400)

- Buying properties (350-450)

- Creating “temporary housing villages” comprising of portable houses, as was done in Christchurch after the 2010/11 earthquakes (150)

- Using facilities like unused student accommodation and former motel rooms (30-50 rooms/units)

Housing Minister Megan Woods told Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities was confident it would in fact be able to find suitable properties to rent. 

As for the properties it plans to buy, the idea is for some of these to eventually be used as public housing, which tenants can rent longer-term. 

Woods couldn't confirm where the temporary housing villages would be located. 

The Government spent $48m on Emergency Housing Grants in the three months to December - 2.4 times the amount it spent in the December 2018 quarter.

This was largely due to a shortage of transitional housing seeing people housed in costly motels and hostels. 

Woods said: “Motels were only ever intended as short-term emergency accommodation of up to seven days, but the average length of stay has increased to over seven weeks. 

“Motels are not a suitable environment for vulnerable individuals, families and whanau and they are also not cost effective.”

There are more than 14,000 households on a waitlist for a public house. As at December 31, there were 68,970 households in public housing. 

The Government is also committing to investing a further $125m over three years to prevent homelessness. The plan includes:

- $25.6m extra to the Sustaining Tenancies programme to help those at risk of losing their rental with practical support including budget advice, property maintenance, and mental health and addiction support

- $20m to work with Māori to prevent homelessness & expand housing supply that delivered by Māori

- $17.5m to support young people leaving Oranga Tamariki care into accommodation with wrap around support services

- $16.3m to help acute mental health and addiction inpatients transition into the community with housing and other wrap-around support

- $13.5m to pilot a rapid re-housing approach for people receiving Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants

- $19.8m to expand intensive case manager or navigator support services for people in emergency housing longer than seven nights

- $8.7m for a new housing broker service to connect with local landlords and help more Ministry of Social Development clients secure private rental homes

- $740,000 to fund programmes to help people gain skills and confidence to secure and manage a private rental home

- $9.3m to support the wellbeing needs of children in emergency housing, such paying for transport to school or early childhood education

See this story from October 2019 for an overview of the more structural reforms underway to increase the supply of housing, and these more recent stories on draft urban development and infrastructure financing legislation. 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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“Motels are not a suitable environment for vulnerable individuals, families and whanau and they are also not cost effective.”

Not much fun for the holidaymakers and/or business travelers staying next door either. Antisocial behavior into the early hours of the morning.

See my comment below at 3:17pm

Terrible. I've heard quite a few other similar stories.

This happend next to my in-laws family, the night before our wedding. Late night stuff, rude behavior, spitting etc - at least the rest of the day was perfect ..


Many of the homeless in Auckland aren't actually homeless; they have state housing but enjoy drinking in the streets with their mates.

Last year's homeless count turned up numbers well below predicted, even though we were led to believe there were thousands of kiwis sleeping in cars. It was all a beat up.

Trying to solve homelessness with state housing is like trying to solve drug addiction with prohibition. You're not getting at the heart of the problem of why people choose to live on the streets.

Thanks for the submission Sir Trollalot

My submission has substance, yours on the other hand, does not. I wonder what the definition of trolling is?

I see you've thrown your support behind radical left IRA apologists further down. Sorry Labour's not left enough for you, but really the electorate isn't either.

The issue is much much bigger than the beggars on the streets....

Yes indeed it is. And the above isn't a solution to this very complex issue.

Well its certainly true that the homeless "count " , in which our idiotic mayor Phil Goff took part and mostly used as a photo-op , turned out to be no more than a wet jandal ( or a damp squib if you prefer English colloquialisms )

The problem is nowhere near as bad as was suggested in the media .

As for all these allegedly "thousands " of people sleeping in cars ..................where are they ?

Likely now being housed in motels for which thew hapless taxpayer is paying

The hapless taxpayer helped create this problem, the hapless taxpayer gets to help pay to solve it.

"You're not getting at the heart of the problem of why people choose to live on the streets." So we should allow them to live in these terrible and dangerous conditions, while we solve a very complex problem of why? The "Why" might be too late for people who grew up in drug dependent and abusive situations, out of no fault of their own. Some are very damaged people, but they deserve dignity and a chance to build a more positive future.

Here's some stories:

My local park varies between 3 and 6 cars with people sleeping in them, some are quite long tenures.

The heart of the problem is societal, alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness to name a few.

… and none of the problems you mention will be solved by spending $175 million on more temporary housing


Giving people a home goes a long way to help solve those issues,

You've got your carriage ahead of the horses. They are homeless because of the issues they have, not the other way around

Not necessarily, the issues and homelessness are often inter-generational. One of the stories I linked above, the lady was homeless because her mother was also homeless, she was born under Grafton bridge, this was the root of her issues. It is a chicken and egg situation, or a spiral. Cutting out the homelessness part of the equation, will help solve that issue.

Thanks for the made up stats, RollingOn.

In actual fact, if you live and work centrally you do get a pretty reasonable understanding of how many are always sleeping in the central city (and even who in particular they are).

I'm sure there is a percentage who structure their affairs so as to maximise state and private charity, just as there is a percentage of folk in flash Auckland houses who have always structured their affairs so they can maximise what they and their children extract from the taxpayer.

I didn't include any stats. I live and work centrally too.

Sometimes I talk to them; last time it was a guy from Whangarei who was just down to beg for a week or so. He stands in front of the Sky Tower Federal St/Victoria St exit and stops cars from leaving unless they give him some coins.

This guy doesn't need a state house; he likely already has one.

Well, that single data point certainly proves a trend indeed!


A trailer park coming to near you soon!

At least a trailer park might be a temporary solution.

Yep well its working well overseas hasn't it? Insert sarcasm text there... 20m people live in trailers in the USA and they wont be short term

However I have no idea what the answer is apart from building apartment blocks instead of standalone houses.

I would love to know who is going to build all these temporary dwellings too

You probably hear more success stories coming from trailer parks than you do off the streets, it is a step in the right direction.

Guaranteed Govt dollars in rent, a hand to get it up and running / cut the red tape, no short term fix on the horizon plus doing my bit for the community... where do I sign..

But then who will pay the moteliers?

Try getting a Resource Consent for a Trailer Park ..............good luck with that !


At some stage the media might like to ask some of these homeless what their track records are like as tenants.

If they rent or buy dwellings won't they just displace those already renting or looking to buy? As with all these things without increasing supply anything else is just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Yep as per my comment below.

the government just brought a motel up north, stayed there was a lovely place, but have to agree with the locals, there are no jobs there so why house them there?
also who will check in on them and help them surely would have been better to buy one of the ones up the road in kiataia with all the support services close to hand


Each one of those graphs from being relatively stable are now showing very, very significant increases since 2017 when the Labour Coalition came into power.
For a government that was going to address housing and poverty:
- emergency housing grants up from less than $10m to $48m
- food grants at least doubled
- transitional housing increasing six fold, and
- housing wait list from around 4,000 to 14,000.

The Labour coalition has been really successful . . . . . "NOT".


Take a closer look at the graphs - all the increases started in 2016. the current Government inherited the mess from the National one.

murray and MW
If the Nats left the country messy, then there is no denying that Labour has just made it a considerably a hell of a lot more messy.

P.S. Take the rose coloured specs off and take a closer look at the graphs; things looked pretty stable over the Nats tenure only to rapidly accelerate considerably under Labour's tenure. :)

Just not true murray, look at the graph again, it starts getting a lot worse from Dec 2017, not before

Just one graph Yvil, that was when the Government started to ramp up the hardship grants, but all the others show the problem ramping up from 2016. to be fair National were not doing nothing, they were doing something and Labour stepped this up in Dec 2017. The political debate is around what they were or are doing; is it right and enough? My view - no to both.


Fixing the problems left by the crooked nats. Still cant believe JK made at least a $10m tax free personal profit on his main property by pumping up the market during his tenure. And look at the mess he has left our society in to make it. Jacinda cant just click her fingers and fix it all in an instant. It took years to mess up, will take longer to fix.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key revealed his biggest regret was not being able to change the New Zealand flag.

Not so much the poor folk or pulling the ladder up behind him after growing up on the state's tab.

This and his house sale would indicate that he was enamored by the Chinese.

This all sounds reactionary and short term. Perhaps Ardern and the Labour-ites should take a leaf from Sinn Fein's book who are highly motivated to tackle Ireland's homelessness and housing issues.

Reactionary: opposing political or social progress or reform.
Reactive: acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.

Yes reactionary.

First class correction.

I guess today's announcement was aimed at addressing the immediate needs of people in dire situations. In October I did a wrap of all the major, longer-term supply-side reforms underway. There's a bit there, which doesn't always catch headlines.


There are 731 properties to rent in Hamilton on trade me. There are also an unknown number of vacant properties not being made available. I'm no landlord sympathizer, however the stories from both landlords and housing nz on the behavior of tenants is mind boggling. No one in their right mind would lend them a bicycle, let alone a house worth 100's of thousands.

Not all, but a heck of a lot have brought this on themselves. Wrecking houses, having multiple children whilst unemployed. It's time this behavior was called out, not supported by endless state assistance. I am sick of supporting forever breeding anti social ungraceful individuals who think they are owed everything, but responsible for nothing.

so what is your solution to handle these people and most of all the children born into some of these families?


Discouraging and not encouraging them being born would be my emphasis.
The original purposes of support has turned int a lifestyle option.
Many know to get a house, have a child.
Many know if they don't pay rent or power, the winz will make the payment.
Many know if they get kicked out of a rental, they will get a motel - no power bill, rent to pay and sky and aircon on top.
And on it goes. Unsustainable and helping no one long term. Just encouraging very bad behavior.

so what is your solution?
you never answered the question just gave a lot of blast and bother like a politician
would you sterilize people so they cant have kids?
would you just kick them out and say up to you we are not paying you, sort yourself out?
would you say to the kids tough luck you got loser parents deal with it?

I thought rastus' answer was quite clear: stop handing out free money

Put a limit on DPB - 2 kids max, plus father to be identified?

No one ever talks about preventing the issue, only ever about fixing the problem. Perhaps if we were to focus on preventing the issue in the first place, we might find we have more success.

I'm not pro Labour by any means but that us exactly what they say they are trying to do.
Very few have any faith that they can deliver and there are no measures in place to measure success. On a road to nothing!

How is Labour trying to prevent these issues?

Have they thought this through?
Buying houses on the private market and renting houses on the private market (can't see many landlords liking that idea though) will have consequences.
Clueless muppets.

State Housing by any other name ?

I've been looking for a job in Dunners as a qualified builder for a few weeks and all that I can get is agancy work starting at $25 and going to $28 if I'm worth my salt. I use my own tools and since I am a licenced builder I am liable for that workmanship for 10 years.
Now Jacinda is offering me a guaranteed income and most likely a good hand up to get something like this done.
I've got a few bucks that I can fund into something like this if there is little to no risk.
After the Kiwi Build debacle, I'm guessing that they do not want a repeat and willing to do some serious deals to have something to show the public before the eletion.
I have experience at doing simi large projects, I'll be looking at more than $28 an hour in the long run and I'm comfortable with the liability of workmanship when it's me calling the shots as I go over and above the regulations. It's a no brainer for me to dig further into this.

But you'll have to sell your soul and work with the devil..

The very same as working for build agency but for by far less return... If you are on site for an agency and the boss says do this, this way. If you object to it for reasons that it's not up to code or you do not that solution acceptable you are going home and not returning..

I'll be proud to do my bit for the community.....


said yesterday , could not agree more pity he has not done anything major to fix in two years
Now, one forgets how distorted National on the economy was and how rundown the social services were, and they had one plan and one plan alone: open the floodgates of immigration—and that's a fact. Between the 1990s and the 2000s, immigration was around 12,000 per annum, and then, under National after 2014, it massively exploded to 38,300. In the year after—2015—it was 58,300. In the year after that, it was 69,100, and by 2017, it was 72,300. They only had one part of the economic plan: just explode the population.

Now, everybody in Auckland knows what that meant, and everybody around the country knows what that meant: house prices going through the roof, a lack of housing, and a massive demand for schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. The stress was minus, and immigration explains the housing market distortion and crippling infrastructure deficit. Health, education, social services were run down. Evidence of neglect was everywhere, from people sleeping in cars to rotten walls in hospitals

Spot on, not to mention keeping wage low particularly at the lower end of the labour market and exploding rents. Ludrcous this has been allowed to happen by successive governments . Not to mention the normalisation of corruption and ignoring NZ's labour laws.

And they never asked permission from the people of New Zealand.

Stephen Joyce's grand economic plan seemed to be fake education schemes with free visas, ultimately to the cost of many ordinary Kiwis.

Plus more refugees now to add to the mix.

Here we go again payer dollars thrown around by Labour "hoping" it will solve the housing problem, it's really just lip service and remember it's "election year". If any political party had any guts, they would stop throwing my tax dollars in the direction of landlords in the form of the "accommodation supplement" and employers with "working for families" who bleat and moan about having to pay increased wages, as it really means they can't upgrade their launch.

Let "the market" decide the rents and wages and keep government money away from market business ....or never use the term "free market" again, it's just BS.

Instead use this money for R & D, assisting new industries etc and then the employers will be able to pay a decent livable wage, while rents will find their place in the market.

As soon as NZ get off this "protect the property market at ALL costs" only then will opportunities arise, productivity will increase and everyone can go back to treating a house,as what it should be for - a home for families to live and work, not an investment vehicle creating a "one trick pony" economy.

totally agree
sure there would be short term pain as many people ended up on the streets and companies lay off workers but long term things would reset to where it should be
that's what happens with subsidies they just inflate prices.
its like the sallies calling for hikes in benefits, guess what you do that and rents will go up as the ability to pay more is there, so you don't achieve what you were trying to

so lets get this right -- after several years of talking about how bad the situation is -- its taken this government over two years in power to come up with we will buy and rent existing houses - displacing existing people - and put the homeless in them ?

All the graphs evidence -- is that as soon as Labour came in -- they started throwing money about like confetti - but paying twice the market rate for a motel room - -which is what they are doing -is so wasteful. It also shows that this group see labour as an easy touch -- massive increase in grants and people wanting a free state house -

And the only graph that stayed static for the first 18 months was the number of transitiona housing places which was growing and suddenly plateaued ! ie they cancelled exisitng planned responses whilst a workign group spent two years coming up with this !

Buying or renting existing homes does NOTHING to solve the housing shortage - its simply an election smoke and mirrors trick to pretend they have done something - each of those houses they buy - either have a tenant or were previously rented -- each one they rent -- would have been rented anyway --

pitiful response after two whole years of working groups !

How long till Winny sees the writing on the wall and walks into Judith's office and says 'you and me baby, let's do this'!.
Judith.. 'sweet as, I dont have any better offers'.

Totally agree.
The housing baton has been passed from one incompetent minister to another.
Despite having a PhD (whoopdee do), Woods seems as thick as batshit.


Time to reduce demand ie allow less people in the country!

again a core promise of all three partners not delivered on !

and one party in particular
from yesterdays speech, no good talking you had two years to do something
—it's important for New Zealanders to recognise this—is that we need a dialogue with the New Zealand people about our future population policy because the forecast of New Zealand's population by 2050 has got us there already. All the forecasts said that where New Zealand would be in 2050 is today's population, and no one has had a discussion with any New Zealanders at all and the consequences are huge. We can see the straining and suffering out there, where we've got Third World problems that we have allowed to be created, because we haven't had a focused, smart policy.

Renowned Japanese architect Ban Shigeru built temporary housing for earthquake victims all over the world. Extremely cost effective and aesthetically more pleasing that what you could waste a small fortune on in NZ.

Some great images here

Ban Shigeru has been to NZ but I would expect most of his fantastic ideas were ignored. I even think he met with the ogrish Gerry Brownlee.

Ministers and senior bureaucrats know best!

This is just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Removing otherwise rent-able properties to provide emergency houses. What happens to the previous house occupiers? I suppose they will need emergency housing. - Mind numbingly stupid and totally consistent with the unbelievably incompetent performance of this government.
There is only one solution. Show some leadership. Make some hard decisions and get a lot of houses built very quickly and at the same time stop adding petrol to the fire and totally stop immigration.

Firstly it will allow for the unmotivated and unsocial to get a roof over their heads in locations where they really do not need to be in. Then it will displace the hard working lowly paid like nurses, teachers etc who will have to move up the chain in terms of house quality and competing for less rentals upping the rents.

The government will spend $175 million = you and I will pay $175 million through our taxes

You mean income earners paying PAYE? We could just put in place a capital gains tax, use that tax to pay for the vulnerable (per this article disucssion) while at the same time making property investment less attractive, remove speculation from the market and making homes more affordable for the people who we're having to pay taxes for because they can't afford to buy into the market?

Yes from income tax. Labour has canned a CGT, talking about "could" & "should" is a waste of time

Isn't that the entire purpose of the comments section?

In any case, I wonder if CGT will come back on the table if Labour get in for a 2nd term without needing NZ First. I could see it if the Housing market stays hot.

Sadly for many it seems to be the case (talking about should and could) which is a total waste of time. If one feels strongly enough about changing something, then do something about instead of moaning about should & could

If one wants to 'do something' in a democracy, one must share their ideas with others - to increase support/votes in that direction. Understand you want CGT, Yvil, but you can't stop people from participating in democracy.

It's no use being part of stopping the government doing what is useful then blaming the government for not doing what is useful.

What utter folly .

This half -witted bunch of loons masquerading as a Government, are now going to use taxpayers money to house everyone who cant find a house , instead of using private capital to do so !

Thats why we had incentives for private investors to enter the housing market and provide rental stock in the first place .

Just wait until the Government has to play hard with a tenant who defaults on the rent .............there will be no consequences as the Government will NEVER be able to evict anyone ..........

Similar thinking about the "market providing" has been pervasive in Ireland. The results have been disastrous, hence the crumbling of and dissatisfaction with the political elite.

As I've posted previously, if we want to run by this neoliberal economic model and have free/private markets for everything, including housing, then lets ditch all accommodation supplements for the next 5 years and see what happens. The way I see it, is that if landlords/property investors want to live by the sword, they can die by the sword.

I agree , the accommodation supplement is nothing other than a mechanism that distorts the price .

Get rid of it and there will be a drop in rents .

I believe in a free market for everything apart from essential services. Consumers don't have the necessary power to influence markets for essential services, so they should be regulated by the state, in favor of consumers. i.e. Healthcare, Education, Energy, Water, Emergency Services and Housing. Also companies should display their responsibility and commitment to the betterment of society as a whole in order to achieve limited liability. We give them all the legal power of a person, without the responsibility to act morally and ethically as people do to fit in as a part of society.

Figure 14b shows emergency accommodation increasing 7 fold, yep 7 times since the left government took office, from $7 million in December 2017 to $48 million in December 19. A truely catastrophic result

When the Titanic hit the iceberg, was it the fault of the captain who earlier ordered full steam ahead to show off the vessels speed, or the night shift crew who couldn't turn the vessel fast enough?

Did unicorns live before or after dinosaurs?

Crikey, how bad had things gotten under the covers that they had to do that? Just a few months before it seemed all we had were "good problems to have" and "signs of our success".

“Motels are not a suitable environment for vulnerable individuals, families and whanau…"

Vulnerable? Yeah right, more like drunk, lazy, dirty, conniving and dishonest. I own a motel and we don't want these "vulnerable individuals" anymore. We know first hand, we empty endless amounts of liquor and cigarettes from their stinky room daily, they "invite" the rest of the whanau to stay overnight sneaking them in at night, we know that when regular guests complain about excessive noise in the middle of the night. Towels, cups, cutlery regularly goes missing, the worst we've had was a 42" TV, a microwave, fixed wall heater stolen on top of bedding, paintings etc…

Motels are not a suitable environment for vulnerable individuals, families and whanau
they should never had been put there, that was a stoooppuid policy started by the last government (makes you wonder if they had mates that owned motels)
they should have build modular villages like they did in christchurch after the earthquake, quick and cheap on land they already own

I would tender that if you have lost your home that you might have one or two things destabilising you in the background and people need help with that sort of thing or they just go into a tailspin. I would like to see our defense force engaged in a few projects around the country. I see that quite a few surplus patrol vessels and LAVS are currently being disposed of so you can't tell me all the troops are out on manouvres...practicing to invade Stewart Island perhaps...the engineers corp could start building these villages and would probably be able to make a highly valuable contribution to the repairs to our collapsing social infrastructure

So in summary, the government hands out more free money and the result is that more people want free money, who would have thought?

I agree with you there, there should be something in return
problem is we tried PEP schemes they were a disaster,
so what is your solution?
how do you get people to work for the money that are beyond useless ( only a small percentage) and if they don't what do we do with them
how do you find jobs for the ones in the country where it is cheaper to live, its crazy we bring in pickers but if on a benefit we will make you worse off if you do that part time work
we have massive unemployment in places like northland and the young leave to come to auckland for jobs how do we get them to stay without creating jobs with government funds
my biggest bugbear is the moving of state corporations from the regions to auckland, it should be reversed

No need to drag pensioners into this discussion too.

Is it not just bloody amazing ? the hardship grants increase from $7m to $48m in the past 2 years , and they have the audacity to blame the previous Government .

Q .Who increased it ?

A. The COL

Simple this is a COL cock up .............they should all be forced to take their tops off in Parliament and take a long hard look at their navels .

The minute any Government starts throwing money around like drunken sailors , there will be string of prostitutes lining up for a slice of the action or taking advantage of the situation

Boatman; so true but not only lining up but also laughing at the same time!

It would be helpful if the Government had some kind of documented cohesive ( and most importantly , workable) Strategic Plan with regards to the so called "housing crisis"

This unco-ordinated shotgun approach which is a combination of wishful thinking and policy made up on the fly , is simply going to fail

Just Like Kiwibuild failed hopelessly

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Days to the General Election: 37
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