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Drastic changes needed to housing, says report

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New Zealand News | Thursday November 14 2013 11:42

Drastic changes needed to housing, says report

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AUCKLAND - Salvation Army says drastic changes are needed for New Zealand's social housing system.

It has released a 130 page report that looks in to the two main housing assistance programmes - the accommodation supplement and subsidised state housing.

Salvation Army social policy analyst Alan Johnson says the biggest issue is there are no goals or strategies.

"We know, for example, what we want to achieve with our public health system. We know what we want to achieve with our education system. We know what we want to achieve with our income support system.

"But we've got no sense of what it is we want to achieve with housing."

Alan Johnson says the Government is spending a lot of money on state housing but are are not seeing any results in the reduction of poverty.

He says one of the biggest issues is that there's no planning for the future needs and demands of an aging population.

"We're not even doing any planning, for example, for what's going to happen when baby boomers start retiring and they don't own their own home.

"What's going to happen to them as they rely on the state for an income?"

Alan Johnson says neither the rent subsidy programme nor state housing is driven by any form of ambition.

"They've simply just evolved, and they've been maintained because they're too hard to change.

"We think that, realistically, we need to become a bit more adventurous."

The report says if we do not offer housing opportunities to young working households, more and more will go Australia.

This would be a disaster for an aging population according to Alan Johnson.

"As people choose where to work, they're also thinking about housing costs.

"Obviously in places like Sydney and Melbourne there's still problems with housing, but outside of that the housing-job equation looks a lot better."

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