More homes for retiring boomers top issue

CHELSEA ARMITAGE
Last updated 13:00 27/06/2014

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More than 150 delegates will meet in Nelson next week to tackle the community housing sector's leading issues.

The fourth Community Housing Impact conference will explore questions such as whether the nation will be able to meet the growing housing demand of baby boomers reaching retirement.

It will also discuss how the Government will reach its goal of 35,000 new homes by its 2020 deadline, less than six years away.

Housing Minister Nick Smith will address the conference at its opening on Thursday at the Rutherford Hotel.

Community Housing Aotearoa director Scott Figenshow says it was a crucial time for the sector.

"We know we need 20,000 houses for people in need and the goal is to get them built over the next six years.

"It is a challenge that the sector is very keen to take on," he said.

Figenshow said research showed that the community housing sector could provide two to three times the value for the taxpayer than a government spend on the same project.

"We know the benefits of the community housing model, which sees developments with a mix of rent and shared ownership properties and we know we can achieve that in a very cost-effective way."

CHA will present its vision and announce its investment plan for achieving the affordable housing target at the conference.

Nelson Tasman Housing Trust director Keith Preston said the most pressing issue for Nelson's community housing sector was the lack of capital funding.

With the region's high demand for housing, the entire three-year budget being "blown" in only 1 years had left Nelson in a "bit of a hole", he said.

Preston said most of the money went to bigger cities such as Auckland and Christchurch, leaving little left in the pool for Nelson.

"We're really looking forward to having the conference here," he said.

"It's usually held in bigger cities so to persuade them to come here, especially in the colder months, was a great achievement."

Speakers at the conference include New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development chief executive Stephen Selwood, and Community Housing Federation of Australia's executive director Carol Croce.

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- The Nelson Mail

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