Housing wait list yet homes vacant

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014

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The Timaru District has 29 people on waiting lists for social housing.

Of those, 15 are listed as priority A, the more urgent category for the government-assisted housing as assessed by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

Kate Milton, area manager for Housing New Zealand which administers the properties, said there were 422 HNZ properties in the Timaru district and 23 in Waimate.

There were seven houses unoccupied across the two districts - five in Timaru, one in Temuka and one in Waimate.

"All of these vacant properties have been offered to applicants on the waiting list," she said.

Criteria to qualify for social housing includes being over the age of 16, a resident or citizen of New Zealand, earning $550.41 a week or less (after tax) for people who have no partner and no dependent children, or $846.78 a week or less (after tax) for people who have a partner and/or dependent children.

MSD regional commissioner John Allen said the ministry's role was to manage the social housing wait list through assessing eligibility.

It also kept in regular contact with applicants to see if their circumstances had changed and whether they still needed social housing, he said.

He was not able to comment about the average wait list time in South Canterbury or the average number of people on the list as it was constantly changing.

Allen said it was the job of HNZ and community housing providers to match people with an available home that met their needs.

"Placing people into accommodation is not just about where an applicant is on the wait list - it's about matching the right person or family to the right place that is available, and prioritising need as people's circumstances change."

Mackenzie District has no-one on social-housing waiting lists.

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- The Timaru Herald

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