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Invest in Social Housing to Prevent Social Deficit
Monday 13 February 2012, 2:49PM
By NZ Council of Christian Social Services and Poverty Action Waikato

The Hamilton Council of Christian Social Services and Poverty Action Waikato are asking their networks to make a commitment to ensure social housing stock remains in Hamilton City.

“The upkeep and development of social housing in Hamilton is under threat from this current council and we are proposing a solution. While the poverty in our city has increased over the last 30 years, so has the wealth. We are calling on the people who have financial investments to consider also making social investments in housing for the sake of our most vulnerable” says Karen Morrison-Hume, Hamilton Council of Christian Social Services, spokesperson.

Hamilton City Council is proposing to sell 51 Units it currently owns and manages and rents to means tested elderly people to try and make up for budget shortfalls.

“Hamilton City’s most vulnerable elderly are the latest victims of approved overspending by successive Hamilton City Councillors” says Dr Rose Black, Poverty Action Waikato

A campaign launched late last year “R U Just 1 Step Away” highlights the vulnerability experienced by the majority when 40% of the world’s wealth is controlled by just 1% of the people.

“It could be any of us in those units and it’s a ghastly feeling to not know if you will be able to stay in your home or not. Most of us, the 99%, are only one step away if not in this kind of situation. It is time that we ensured greater security for all of us by reducing wealth inequity. We need investors to stand up and commit to making a very worthwhile social investment. As a city we do have the economic capacity to ensure the wellbeing of our most vulnerable” she says

The 51 Units are currently tenanted but will be sold as “vacant possession”. Hamilton City Council hopes to raise 3 million dollars through this sale and the money will go towards the council’s economic deficit.

“These Units are homes for people. They are a community resource for people who have few other affordable housing options. Who is measuring the social deficit that will be created if this sale goes ahead? We need a solution that the council can’t argue with and that is why we are asking investors in our networks to consider partnering with the council to at least maintain the Hamilton’s current social housing stock”. says Ms Morrison Hume

The overall stock of council owned flats require a very small investment of ratepayers’ dollars each year to make up for the gap between income and expenditure..

“The success of our community should be measured by the way we treat our most vulnerable. Currently, the Council does not have the political will to ensure the units are kept. We are calling for wider collaboration to ensure that these elderly people can stay in their homes” says Dr Black. INDEX