MORE INFORMATION REQUESTS

This morning I sent CCC two more information requests about social housing, the are as follows.

SOCIAL HOUSING NUMBERS

Further to the housing numbers published for the election, could I have an updated version?

I am specifically interested in the number of closed units.

Can you also provide a more detailed list of the 200 closed units, the reason for closure and the current intention for each.

I am wanting to update the data on our site at www.oursocialhousing.nz to keep it current and useful.

I would also like to know it it is possible to get regular change data (eg monthly) so we can keep it more current.

HEAT PUMP DELIVER SCHEDULE

Following on from this weeks obvious and well publicized confusion, can you please advise the follow.

1. An updated, month by month delivery plan.

2. Advice on when the venterlation systems will be installed.

3. Who were the successful contractors

4. When is it planned that progress will be reviewed in the first ~400 units to consider retendering.

5. Is the performance/ work load of the project management team going to be reviewed/monitored to ensure adequate resources so as not to encounter road blocks?

Could I also have a copy of the public tender documents published on GETS ~11 NOV 19 (YES I’m paying more attention to GETS emails now 😉 🙂 )

GOVERNMENT IS BORROWING SO SHOULD WE

The Government has quietly lifted the borrowing limit for the newly formed Kāinga Ora social housing agency by $4.05 billion to $7.1 billion so it can build and refit almost 4,800 more state houses on top of the 6,400 already planned. – Bernard Hickey – Newsroom

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/01/20/991131/kinga-oras-borrowing-limit-lifted-by-4b#


With the growing amount of international investment in our residential housing market, it makes good sense for government to invest in housing our most vulnerable.

I’ve been contending for some time that CCC needs to borrow up large and build more social housing in serious numbers.

We haven’t built in serious numbers for 45 years. With building products having a 50 year target life, our stock is coming to end of life.

CCC’s “Project 8011” is dragging and not getting the housing numbers in the CBD that are needed, something everyone seems to agree.

Council needs to be taking a lead with at least 10 social housing projects with 20 units each, contributing at least 200 units this year.

Social housing make council good money and reduces everyone’s rates so every citizen wins!

Council needs to invest up to $1.3b in 6,500 more social housing homes.

Social housing makes council good money and doesn’t cost ratepayers.

Every citizen wins.

I believe we could borrow, build and repay within 25 years and make a $45 million dollar profit each year to off set rate.

It’s important to me that we provide our citizens with the best possible housing.

We collect GST from tourists everyday in Christchurch and social housing is a perfect vehicle for pulling that tax money back into our community in a way that makes sure every citizen gets a return.

Some will argue that this would put council in competition with the private market. It’s just not true. The private market just isn’t interested in this part of the market. The market is also expanding, so council is only ‘joining’ the market.

Some contend that social housing is a state not civic role. Two points, keeping the state in check means providing competitive pressure.

Secondly, state profits go back to the state. It’s important to remember that many social housing tenants are hard working locals, like Stephen, who earn local money and we want profits returned to our community.

Civic social housing profits all our citizens.

EV CHARGING ON SITE

Ed from EVNEX
I spent some time this afternoon with Ed from Evnex talking about their EV charging systems. The TOC,total cost of ownership for an EV, electric vehicle is now lower than petrol. EECA provide grants to help put these systems in place. I’m going to be looking for endorsement to put at least two of these at every CCC estate. EVs are ideal for providers of health care services. Our units get lots of visitors but EVs are chicken and egg. OCHT already has at least one. I own two. If we want healthcare providers to keep costs down and we want to keep travel costs down for out tenants we need to put in low cost future tech while government is subsidizing it.

Weekly Update #4 – Waiting and Mailing Lists

I have now installed a forms feature on the site which now lets us start to collect information.

I can see reason for two different lists

MAILING LIST

Not everyone who’s interested in social housing wants to be checking in on Facebook or the web site, so a mailing list is important.

I’m also keen to understand as much about people interesting in social housing, as I can. So I’m going to propose a mailing list that also lets you tell us a bit about yourself, or not! 🙂

WAITING LIST

In last years, last council meeting, we heard that there are 830 people on the social housing waiting list, but who are you? What are you looking for, what is your situation and where do you want to live?

So I’m proposing we’ll collect the following, or as much as you choose to share with us.

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number

All of these will be optional… actually everything will be optional.

My plan is that I’ll simply qualify the quality of interest based on the level of information provided. Clearly someone who wants to give you all their information is serious about wanting something.

  • Required Bedrooms
  • Required Beds – we don’t assume that people need or want a bedroom each, but we want to know how many people you want to have living in a space.
  • Current suburb – we don’t know where you actually live, we’d just like to know where your community is.
  • Desired suburb – we assume that people have been moved around as a result of the earthquakes so we’d like to know where you’d like to live
  • Schooling – do you need to be close to a school?
  • Public Transport – do you need to be close to it?
  • Work Suburb – we want to understand where you need to travel to.
  • Drug use – this one’s quite important. Right now CCC have units that people have used drugs in, they simply need cleaning. The government standards have changed and for some people, they’d sooner have a more affordable home than where they are, so there is a case to argue that these units should be made available.
  • About you – age range, gender, health – if you’re 85 and in poor health then you need higher quality housing than I do. Double rather than single glassing and better heating, for example.
  • Current housing – we’re keen to understand people who are couch surfing, those who are simply unhappy with private accommodation or other reasons
  • Reason for your interest – as above, we’d like to know why you want social housing. We understand that in some causes what people really want is help to improve their situation but just don’t know where to reach. In this journey so far, Stephen and I have learnt a lot about services we didn’t know existed.

I’ll be posting this on Facebook, so I’m keen to hear your comments before we set this alight! 🙂

Weekly Update #3 – Incoming Information and Support

ONE MORE FOR SALVATION ARMY

This week I got another private landlord to provide another unit to the Salvation Army’s offender reintegration program.

Providing good housing for reintergration is critical. Offenders who don’t have good housing can re-offend quickly and this is a path directly back to prison.

Offending creates more victims as well as causing an expensive revolving door in our courts.

DOUBLE GLASSING QUOTES

I meet with Cr Phil Maugers last week to talk about social housing moving forward.

Phil did some work on better the cost of improving a number of social houses during the election campaign.

I now have a copy of those quotes from Hagley Window Replacements. They’re not cheap at around 10% of the average cost of units.

I can see value in asking the question for living rooms on the ground floor, south sides of complexes where the winter sun will not get and cause those homes to need heating.

People want to help improve social housing in the city, this was clear from my conversations with both Phil and Collin, from Hagley.

LAND QUOTES & OTHER SOCIAL HOUSING PROVIDERS

Also of interest this week was a discussion with a large land holder in Burwood with land adjacent to Concord Place.

As I’ve traveled my recent journey into social housing, it’s become obvious to me that there is profit in this area with an ample supply of profitable tenants. I’ve been looking around the city at locations and the question of the need for a competitor to OCHT.

It seems to me that the model is now well understood and the demand for housing very much exists.

QUALITY DATA AT COUNCIL

https://christchurch.infocouncil.biz/Open/2019/11/SACRC_20191128_AGN_4065_AT.htm#PDF2_ReportName_25446

This weeks CCC Sustainability and Community Resilience Committee agenda includes a big section on social housing.

I reached out to the chair to make a short deputation on Thursday because I had a number of questions about the quality of data and information being presented to elected members and I also want to reaffirm with the council that our interest in social housing was more than just as an election stunt.

The result of this exchange has been a very productive exchange with the CCC housing manager who has invited Stephen and I to meet to talk further about housing at some point and has also provided an extensive backgrounder to improve our understanding.

QUALITY DATA AT HOUSING NEW ZEALAND

Some very useful and interesting data showed up from HNZ this week. They presented their data by census area and broke it down by ‘bedroom count’.

Big thanks to Stephen who spent some time checking the data, putting it into a spreadsheet and added ward data so I could import it into the database to let us compare and consolidate with the council data.

In presenting this data for your consideration, these are the things that occurred to me.

  • The social housing portfolio is large and getting a good view of it isn’t easy.
  • For good governance elected members should constrain to looking at stock in their own ward as a starting point
  • Members need to consider the condition and quantity in their ward and the need.
  • CCC data doesn’t present number of bedrooms, so it’s hard to compare with HNZ data.
  • A useful measure of service is bedrooms, not just dwellings
  • We don’t know where the ‘Other social housing providers’ units are

Notes:

  • The HNZ data columns are showing 0,1,2,3,4,5+ rooms per dwelling
  • Papanui includes 18 ‘zero’ bedroom dwellings in the HNZ data, we never asked why.

OUR SOCIAL HOUSING, NOT JUST CCC HOUSING

As you can see, we are starting to get a more full picture of the state of social housing in our city.

Our aim to to better understand the bottom rung of housing in our city to best inform ourselves and others around housing policy and rise up the state of social housing.

Weekly Updates #2 – Presenting Information And Ideas

This week Stephen spent many hours improving and building up the presentation of the September housing data. He added a “Community Boards” summary page which shows a very high level look at the amount of housing in each area and how many are currently closed.

I spent some time with a number of elected officials, presented our work on the web site and reaffirmed our interest to see social housing get serious attention in this term. I felt like there is a agreement that we have to get closed units open. They serve no one closed.

A ‘social housing working group’, chaired by the mayor is being established this term, in addition to the normal collection of committees. I’m assured that this will have teeth given that it is being chaired directly by Lianne and not just get lost in the mix as happened in the past. Personally, at present, I think this is fantastic news for social housing. If this term becomes Lianne’s last then what happens in social housing will become a legacy, if she runs for another term then she is chief in charge of social housing, a portfolio that hung the last chair.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I’m presenting a number of themes.

  1. Why we need CCC in social housing – this doesn’t seem well understood. I published a paper on this a few months ago.
  2. We don’t have as much open stock as people think. People need to get informed and be talking about the real numbers which are closer to 1,900 not 2,200.
  3. Fix it first – Fixing closed units has to be the priority. Repairs don’t require consents or architects, they simply need builders and project managers. Trades are calling out for work. This also includes the heating which there is still no program of work completed for.
  4. We need to ‘trade’. We have to stop talking about ‘asset sales’. Right now our social housing stock is not much of an ‘asset’, it should be. We need to ‘trade it’ back to good health. In some cases that will mean selling off bits, buying bits, fixing bits and building lots!
  5. We need to borrow. Our current asset value is around $325m, we should be borrowing that up to $1.5b to match an 80% equity and how the private market manages residential property.
  6. It’s time to build – Money is cheap, we did most of our building in the 1970’s. There are currently 130 units on the horizon. That’s a fraction of what is going to be needed to keep up with population growth, age and the age of our current stock, 342 units were demolished.

In the past week council have had their swearing in and first meetings. At present dates for the committee that housing falls under have not been set. My plan is to make a public forum presentation at the first meeting asking for focus on the issues above. I’m also interested to know what support there is for a petition to call for attention to such.

D

Weekly Update #1 – Requests for Information

Every week I’m going to try to write some words about what we’ve been up to, so here goes for week one!

INFORMATION REQUESTS

Stephen has been smashing out the data input of all the information we’ve discovered so far about OCHT. A couple of weeks ago I reached out and asked for more information from the trust to fill in a few of the gaps from the information that CCC had on their web site. I have to say I found the trust to be very open and they provided the information very quickly.

WE ALL NEED THE WHOLE PICTURE

This week I connected with the Housing NZ team and they’ve agreed to provide information about their stock in Christchurch so we can gather a more detailed picture about what exists. They’re going to provide data by suburb (which we will process into wards) so that we can provide everyone with a more detailed picture by area.

WHAT ABOUT HEATING AND COOLING?!

I have also not forgotten an earlier interest in the climate data that HNZ has been collecting. At last weeks housing forum I spoke with the CDHB folk who are also looking at the same questions.

I have also lodged a formal request with CCC for more information about the delivery of the heating and ventilation program that was committed to in September.

WILLIAMS CORPORATION INFORMATION

Today I also made time to pop into Williams Corporations new Christchurch office, caught up with one of their MD’s and GM and meet their capital fund guy Chris Conner.

I dropped in because I wanted to grab some light reading.

You might be wondering what this has to do with OUR SOCIAL HOUSING when those properties start from over $350,000.00! Simple… housing is a ‘ladder’ and if people want to get out of social housing and into a private market flat that they can afford then we have to push everyone else on the ladder up a rung. We also have to get more housing built, and we do care what that housing is. Right now, these guys are busy building stuff that the market is just screaming out for, so I’m doing everything I can to know as much as I can about it.

No, I’m not selling them, no, I’m not in the market for one right now… but YES, I know people who are, I know people who have money to spend, I know people who would benefit from knowing, and so do you!

It was fantastic to get to meet with Chris this afternoon because he’s a guy who just knows all about raising capital to help Williams Corporation build more homes in Christchurch. One day I’d like to build a heap of social housing too, that needs money and it’s people like Chris who teach people how to raise capital so the more time people like Chris will give you, the better for everyone!

TPA Mayoral Debate Speech

Good afternoon all, 

As you may or may not be aware, I am a social housing tenant. 

I stood in front of our council on the 22nd of August, and stated what it was like living in one of these units. How in summer it only gets to about 8 degrees, and in winter it only gets to 0 degrees without heating. My winter power bills are currently $350 a month in a 50sq metre uninsulated unit. 

Now it was announced from Council Head of Facilities, Property and Planning Bruce Rendall on the council’s own website last night, that they are estimating $16 million on upgrading their units but only seeking a loan of $10 million at the sacrifice of “internal decorating”. 

I currently work in a hardware store, I’m sure I can get some paint brushes to help with this, and I am also sure I can get some paint from the same store. 

The website continues to say and I quote. “We want our tenants to live in healthy homes so we’ve done such things as install insulation, upgrade their heating, put in curtains, draught stopping, pipe lagging, and stick-on double glazing” 

I have had bubble wrap on the bedroom windows, does that count as insulation or stick-on double glazing? Updated heating, does a Skope wall mounted fan heater from the 80’s count as updated?  

The standards that we have in New Zealand are currently not the best. The sub-standard conditions of some of the rentals can have a major effect on every tenant. 

This can impact on the local economy, costing millions of dollars a year in lost productivity. It also impacts on the health of the tenants costing tax payers millions of dollars a year in medical assistance. What’s more important is the mental health of our tenants. We don’t know the cost of people who end up having a mental issues from sub-standard housing, but I am guessing millions of dollars a year. 

Recently, in fact on the 24th August, I ended up with another severe chest infection and I am just seeing the end of it. My son has had 3 weeks off from school that he will never get back, due to the sub-standard housing we live in. 

I personally believe that Central Government Healthy Homes Initiative starts the process but I believe it doesn’t go far enough. If I am elected, I will push for a higher standard of new housing stock in Christchurch as we move forward, including but not limited to, higher R value insulation, more energy efficient heating, better ventilation systems. 

What may cost us a few hundreds of dollars now will save us thousands, if not millions, later. 

Thank you. 

22nd August Council Deputation

Good morning Councilors; 

My name is Stephen McPaike and I currently reside in Haast Courts. 

I moved into my unit in July 2016 due to unforeseen circumstances in my life. During my time in this unit, I have lost 2 queen size beds, clothes, linen due to mold.  Unfortunately, it’s not the only thing I have lost. I have ended up quite ill on average two or three times per winter season and have been unable to go to my place of employment for up to a week at a time, thus losing income. My son has also been sick for three weeks and has not been able to attend school due to this. 

I come to you today to see an improvement to Council owned Social Housing Units. 

The 2017 Christchurch Housing Accord, that ended on 31st December 2018, states under section 22, that “The Government and Christchurch City Council agree to: Improve the supply and quality of social and affordable housing.” It also states in section 32 “The Accord identifies the intention of the Government and Council to work together to address issues affecting social and affordable housing in Christchurch.” 

In the Christchurch City Council Long Term Plan dated 2018-2028 it is mentioned that “adequate housing is a basic requirement… people must have access to adequate housing to meet their need.” This document continues to say “Good quality housing is required for healthy communities” which tenants in some of these units are still waiting to see. 

Recently, OCHT and City Council have been getting a lot of bad media attention starting in 2018 with the following articles: 

All articles are from www.stuff.co.nz as of 12/08/19 

When I moved into Haast Courts, I notice that there is a power hungry Skope wall mounted fan heater. To change this, I (and all tenants) would have to buy a heat pump, pay for the installation of the device, and to pay for the removal of this device as well as repairs to the unit when our tenancy ends. 

How is this possible for low income tenants to afford this? I have sort information on assistance from Ministry for Social Development (also known as Work and Income) and was told that they will not assist for a heating device for my unit as it falls under the land owners responsibility. 

I am sure that you, the Council, will ask how are we going to insulate the approximately 43% of our social housing stock without costing rate payers too much. Here is an idea, stop spending millions of dollars on (currently unwanted) cycle lanes and use the money to insulate and double glaze these units. 

It has also been announced that CCC will be giving a loan to OCHT of $30 million to “build an additional 130 social houses for Christchurch. The Trust will also replace 50 existing ‘old and cold’ units with 50 new, warm, dry units.” This is a small step but it is defiantly not enough. 

Pink Batts have insulation available for ceilings, skillion roofs, mid floors, floors and walls. Other than Pink Batts the following hardware stores have other products that can be intergraded into the social housing units. 

  • Mitre 10 has Bradford Gold insulation. 
  • Placemakers has GreenStuff insulation. 
  • Bunnings has GreenStuff and Earthwool. 

If you think that we should continue to live in these units, when both Local and Central Government are pushing for healthier homes, maybe we, as tenants, should ask you the question, “Are you willing to live in one of these units?”  

I believe not. So, what will you, the council do to help, and how will you inform your tenants? 

Thank you for your time 

Stephen McPaike