The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
The Army does not believe the lives of tenants would be sufficiently improved by such a transfer. Neither does The Salvation Army have the expertise, infrastructure and resources to successfully manage any social housing transfer of size.
This decision comes after the Army undertook a robust external study testing its capacity to become a major social housing landlord.
Major Campbell Roberts, The Salvation Army’s social housing spokesperson, says, “The Salvation Army has taken very seriously the opportunity to be the recipients of a Government housing transfer. However, we are not convinced that on our own The Salvation Army can offer a service that would markedly improve the lives and living conditions of State tenants.
“The Salvation Army is supportive of the Government’s intentions to have community organisations involved in the management of social housing, but at the moment it is beyond our capacity to become involved. People’s lives and futures are our priority, and we must do the right thing by them.”
The Salvation Army is keen to pursue other models of housing partnerships between itself, Government and other groups—including Iwi—that could potentially provide additional social and affordable housing. The Salvation Army is also open to providing supportive community services for other social housing providers. “We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with Government and other possible providers,” says Roberts.
The Salvation Army will continue to provide and expand its social housing services. The Salvation Army currently delivers a range of social housing services in New Zealand, including 293 houses for elderly people, 198 supportive accommodation beds, and seven emergency houses.
In partnership with Government and other community housing providers, The Salvation Army has recently built 39 homes for the elderly in Mangere and West Auckland. It is in a housing development partnership in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby with four other community organisations. As part of this development, The Salvation Army will provide an additional 10 houses suitable for families. The Salvation Army also has plans to develop further social housing in Auckland.