Long waiting lists for rest home rentals

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014

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With more than 200 names and a five-year wait, a southern rest home abandoned its waiting list for rental accommodation.

The discarded list reflects the high demand for limited elderly rest home rental space in the south.

Presbyterian Support, which runs Peacehaven Village, abandoned its rental waiting list about a year ago when it had more than 200 people on it.

Presbyterian Support runs Peacehaven Village in Invercargill and Resthaven Retirement Village in Gore.

Presbyterian's Southland manager of community services Lyn Morton said Peacehaven's 48 rental units were full, and so were the 10 units at Resthaven, which also had a long waiting list.

Rest homes in Southland offer a variety of accommodation, including renting townhouses or cottages, purchasing them through ownership right agreements, and hospital care.

Aside from Invercargill and Gore, there are no rest homes with rental housing attached in the south.

Age Concern Southland manager Janette Turner said staff were trawling the internet for private rentals because residential villages with units for rent were full and private renting was too expensive.

A two-bedroom private rental property could cost more than $200 per week, which had none of the support elderly had access to in retirement villages.

"The ones who need to rent can't pay high rent prices," she said. "We fight to keep them independent in their own homes, but it depends on the person."

Calvary Hospital manager Margaret Brown said there was absolutely a need for more affordable rental accommodation for the elderly.

Calvary's eight rental units were full with a reasonably long waiting list, Brown said.

"There's a bigger need for rental than ownership [accommodation]," she said. "There are a lot of people who can't afford to own and need to rent."

Takitimu Home Anglican Trust receptionist Karen Wilkinson said the seven rental units were full, and agreed that with the demand, there was a need for further rental accommodation in the south.

Turner said the Invercargill City Council had been helpful for elderly who were at risk, but there

was a serious shortage of "little, middle of the road, affordable" accommodation.

Finding the solution needed to be a joint effort between the community and the Government, and could be as simple as building a group of units with one person living on-site as a support person, Turner said.

Invercargill MP Eric Roy said he was unaware of the shortage. "It sounds like an issue there needs to be an inquiry on."

He wanted to know if the problem was unique to Invercargill or a nationwide problem. "We've got to explore it and get some activity going."

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HOUSING OPTIONS

Remain in their own homes

Rent privately

Council housing

Residential care:

– Renting a townhouse or cottage on site of a purpose built retirement village or community. Tenants remain relatively independent, but have the support of the residential care provider.

– Entering into a "occupation right agreement", similar to buying your own home, for a town house or cottage on site of a purpose built retirement village or community, which allows access to all of the facilities offered.

– Rest Home Care entitles you to a bedroom or suite within a care facility. This can sometimes include hospital care, a dementia unit, or palliative care. 

 

PLANS TO EASE DEMAND 

Resthome providers have plans for more housing developments in Southland but not rental accommodation to ease demand.

Residential care giant Bupa plans to build "occupational right agreement" houses next to its rest homes in Gore and Riverton.

Bupa head of communication Lisa Chambers said there were plans for retirement housing at Longwood Rest Home (Riverton) and Windsor Park Care Home (Gore), which could be developments as large as Ascot Retirement Village in Invercargill.

Bupa also runs Ascot and Cargill Rest Home in Invercargill.

The Cargill and Ascot villages already offer occupational right agreement housing, but Longwood and Windsor do not.

Chambers said Cargill's 27 cottages were full, while of the 62 cottages at Ascot, only two were still available.

There were no plans to establish rental units, she said.

Presbyterian Support Southland marketing manager Noel Hassed said there were plans for more occupational right agreement housing in Invercargill.

- The Southland Times

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