The Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Phil Twyford, announced today that changes would be made to public housing tenancy reviews, exempting a set of public housing tenants from three-year reviews. While Auckland Action Against Poverty recognizes this is a step in the right direction, it is calling on the Labour-led Government to extend these exemptions to all public housing tenants, not just those it considers vulnerable.
“We welcome the Government’s acknowledgement that tenancy reviews create unnecessary stress and uncertainty for state housing tenants, which is why we are calling for all tenants to be exempt from tenancy reviews”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.
“Public housing tenants should be given security of tenure, and the Government should be proactively working with tenants to accommodate them in houses that suit their needs rather than push them out into expensive, unaffordable private houses.
“If the Government is serious about ending homelessness and the housing crisis, it will be providing security of tenure to state housing tenants by not subjecting them to tenancy reviews. If state housing tenants genuinely want to move on to the private market, they should be allowed to do so voluntarily.
“The Government’s role should be to increase its state housing stock and to enable universal access to housing, which is a basic human right. The current private rental market is simply not suitable to low-income families, with median rent prices far above what people on the benefit or the minimum wage earn. No one should be forced in a situation where they are unlikely to enter further financial hardship.
“Exempting all public housing tenants from tenancy reviews while substantially increasing the state housing stock is the only viable end the housing crisis.