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.
I’m presenting a number of themes.
- Why we need CCC in social housing – this doesn’t seem well understood. I published a paper on this a few months ago.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.