Almost 200 families are chasing 11 available state houses in Porirua and Kapiti, Mana MP Kris Faafoi says.
Mr Faafoi said a situation in which 191 families were on a waiting list was simply not good enough for families desperate to get into homes.
"Many of these families have been waiting six months or longer for a home to become available," Mr Faafoi said.
"To have just 11 homes means that those families are being forced into living in crowded conditions or substandard private rentals, which for some may be beyond their means."
In Porirua alone, 48 properties were currently closed for refurbishment, and 75 homes were undergoing earthquake strengthening.
"The sheer number of houses under repair is huge and needs to be addressed with urgency to make sure that families in need get homes," Mr Faafoi said.
"They need to be given a timeframe. To have them in limbo for this long is serious.
"The Government's lack of commitment to communities like ours has seen Housing New Zealand close its public counter in Porirua and force its tenants to use a patchy 0800 number."
Housing New Zealand's regional manager of tenancy services, Jackie Pivac, said Porirua's high state housing tenant turnover had caused so many houses to be under maintenance.
"When a tenant moves out we take the opportunity to give our properties a comprehensive maintenance check and refurbishment, including new curtains, paintwork, and new flooring where required, before new tenants move in," she said.
"This investment in our properties means they are continually being maintained, which prolongs their life, and means that when a new tenant moves in, the house looks good and is of a safe, secure standard."
It took between five and 28 days to refurbish a property, Ms Pivac said.
Last November 44 Porirua families were moved from their state homes to allow earthquake strengthening to be done.
The work was supposed to be completed by May, but so far only four units had been re-tenanted, Ms Pivac said. A further 40 units would be upgraded by next month and all should be completed by August 2014, she said.
The units were being modernised at the same time as they were being strengthened.
"The result will be stronger, safer and modernised properties for those in need."
She said other reasons for the housing shortage included a four- unit building with fire damage that Housing New Zealand was trying to sell, and the slower than expected redevelopment of Castor Loop in Cannons Creek, where 27 properties were knocked down in 2009.
Housing New Zealand was still working through options to redevelop Castor Loop and hoped to be able to discuss them with the community before the end of the year, Ms Pivac said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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