Change of social housing view sought

Two senior councillors are pushing for the trigger at which city council-owned social housing units are closed to be changed because they fear tenants are being forced out unnecessarily.

In December 2011 the council undertook to close all council-owned facilities that were assessed by engineers as being below 34 per cent of the new building standard.

Assessments of the council's social housing stock have led to a string of closures and tenants having to leave their homes.

But planning committee chairwoman Sue Wells and community recreation and culture committee chairman Yani Johanson will today ask their council colleagues to support a notice of motion that would change the policy as it applies to social housing.

Instead of a blanket policy, Wells and Johanson want a policy that allows council to make case-by-case assessments on whether units should be open or closed based on sound engineering advice.

They are proposing that if there is no significant damage and no evidence of brittle collapse mechanism, units should be allowed to remain open even if they fall below the 34 per cent threshold.

Wells said the policy, as it stood, meant the council was closing units that were safe to occupy.

If detailed engineering evaluations were carried out on private homes, many would come out at less than 34 per cent of the standard because of age and construction but people were still living in them, Wells said.

The Press