Why Do We Need CCC Social Housing?

Why do we have social housing?

Social housing should be the ‘bottom rung’ of the housing ladder.  The higher we place our bottom rung the higher we elevate our entire housing stock.

If we allow people to exist in damp cold conditions on the bottom rung, we create reason for the private market to allow the same and we give reason for home owners to ‘accept their situation’ too.

In an ideal world we provide warm homes at the bottom, that means that we drive reason for the private market to deliver warm homes and home owners to afford themselves warm dry homes.

We also have to consider the finance market in this question and the economic impact of keeping assets maintained.

Why should we have civic social housing when we have state?

Why do we have more than one supermarket chain?  Why more than one building hardware company, such as Bunnings, Mitre10 and Placemakers?

  • Competition – Civic needs to keep pressure on state to provide an ‘acceptable’ level of service. 
  • Choice – both for tenants and workers.  A problem that the telecommunications market had up until the late 1980’s was ‘employment choice’.  You worked for ‘Telecom’.  People who work in the social housing space need to have choice of employment.  Traditionally we had an ‘advancement’ hirachaie, today people often change orginisations to ‘rise up’.

  • Trust – CCC attracts levels of trust that government doesn’t.  CCC doesn’t have a police force or court and it doesn’t share data the same way that state orginisations do, so there is a different level of trust with both clients and staff.

Why should we have state when we have civic?

Many of the same reasons for having civic v’s state apply for having state v’s civic.

A benefit of ‘state’ housing is that it is controlled from Wellington.

We often talk about the benefit of ‘our people being local and knowing our people’.  Some times this is not an advantage.  While local relationships are built, often with complex customers, relationships also become broken.  The state has the advantage that is has ‘economoy of scale’ giving it more ability to match staff resources with tenants in ‘complex cases’ than the smaller ‘civic’ provider.

Who should be in social housing?

If we accept the premise that social housing is the bottom rung, then we have to question who those people are, their complex needs and if we’re focusing on that market.

Who should leave social housing?

Our goal should be to ‘rise up’ a percentage of customers to move them back into the private market.

Some people are simply complex cases and will never leave the service civic delivers.  For example, people with complex age and mental conditions such as strokes and age conditions.

Some people simply ‘fall down the social ladder’, but with civic  support some consumers rise up.  Having stable housing rises up wellness or, at worse, maintains it.

When should a person leave social housing?

People should move away when they’re ready.  Civic doesn’t need to pull leavers or apply pressure.

Civic needs to remove barriers to leaving. Having different payment frameworks means that people aren’t able to see their relative entitlement in the private market, this is bad.

Civic should want to ‘release’ people who rise up in wellness and will make stable tenants in the private market.

Where should social housing be located?

Civic resources should be located in proximity to resources that ‘fringe’ consumers need to support them.  These locations are not always ideal for long term wellness.

There is a complex balance between creating pockets of ‘fringe community’ and the impact on ‘higher rung’ communities.

What are the payment frameworks?

There is a number of ways that money comes from government to the housing market.

In the private market, tenants with low income (or no income) are eligible for housing assistance with the ‘accommodation supplement’ and also ‘temporary additional support’.

In the ‘social housing’ market government payments don’t appear to hit tenant bank accounts but are paid directly to the landlord or their agent.

A problem with the current framework is that the market is presented with two different prices where as the real price is likely quite similar.  The tenants are ‘locked’ into social housing because they don’t ‘see’ their money to move from social to private market.

The advantage to the social housing provider is that more of their income is ‘assured’ with tenants not ‘spending the rent’ and not making a payment.

A question to consider is fairness on the private market with the market not being provided the same level of protection.