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Kapiti Coast District Council 'stepping up' in housing space

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Kāpiti Coast District Council yesterday accepted two reports on the real housing need in the Kāpiti Coast and adopted a strategy to help address the district’s widespread housing stress.

The two reports, 'Not just a house, a life - Understanding Real Housing Need in the Kāpiti Coast’ and ‘Research Report: Housing Demand and Need in Kāpiti District,’ are the result of in-depth qualitative, quantitative, and iwi-led research conducted as part of Council’s housing needs assessment over the past six months.

The assessment findings provide insights into challenges across the housing continuum and the different type of housing required to make sure delivery of future housing solutions works for our community.

Kāpiti District Mayor K Gurunathan says this mahi was Council stepping up to take a bigger role in housing, as agreed with the community through consultation on our Long-term Plan 2021-41.

"Housing is one of the biggest challenges facing our community and, as we suspected, this report identified that housing stress in Kāpiti is extensive and beyond what is being statistically captured," Mayor Gurunathan says.

"We need to act now. With Kāpiti forecast to grow by 32,000 people over the next 30 years, housing stress is only going to increase, putting pressure on the already limited local housing market, and impacting affordability for those currently living here."

Informed by the housing needs assessment, the Kāpiti Coast District Council Housing Strategy outlines the Council’s current thinking about housing in the Kāpiti region. It includes a vision and principles, the various types of roles Council can play, and actions for the short, medium and long term.

"Housing is a complex issue and not solely the responsibility of one organisation or sector," the Mayor says. "We know we don’t hold all the solutions to the housing crisis, but we want to play our part and help others to do the same.

"We are immensely grateful for the contribution of iwi, other partner organisations, community stakeholders and those who participated in our housing surveys or community korero. The iwi-led research into the housing and social needs in their rohe is invaluable and will ensure iwi voices are shaping decisions around housing and wellbeing as our district grows.

"A key part of our strategy is to provide a foundation from which we can continue to grow productive partnerships with iwi, our partners, central government, the private sector, community housing providers and the community. We look forward to taking on this challenge together."

Housing portfolio leader Councillor Rob McCann says the report shows that housing stress in Kāpiti is widespread, and all signs point to this getting worse if the main issues are not addressed.

"The reality is that without adequate housing there can be no wellbeing. Housing stress is having a domino effect in our district, negatively impacting a range of wellbeing outcomes like education, community connectedness and food security.

"It’s sobering to read that one in five people in Kāpiti have skipped a meal, delayed paying essential bills or borrowed money from friends and family because of their housing and living costs," Cr McCann says.

"We realise this isn’t an isolated issue and that many communities across Aotearoa are facing the same challenge, or worse," Cr McCann says.

"Our strategy is intended to help us avoid the extremes being seen in other areas and ensure our people have access to suitable housing in Kāpiti so they can live and thrive. The needs assessment reports help provide the evidence for increased housing investment from Government."

As well as a lack of housing options across the district, the reports highlight that housing issues are pushing people out of communities in Kāpiti, leading to transience and forced migration, with children often the worst affected.

The reports include a vast array of statistical data such as over one in four private renters are severely stressed (paying more than 50 percent of their household income in rent), and 68 percent of Kāpiti Coast renters can no longer affordably pay the median market rent. Much of this is due to Kāpiti house prices increasing by 435 percent in the last 20 years.

Group Manager of Strategy, Growth and Recovery Natasha Tod says the report’s insights and data provided the foundation for the five key goals of the housing strategy and will help us focus on the priority issues as we take a bigger role in housing.

"The strategy considers Te Tiriti obligations and respects Te Ao Māori, and the Government's goals for climate resilient communities," Ms Tod says.

"It sets out the actions we need to take to respond to housing needs in our district and will feed into the development of more detailed planning that will translate the ‘what’ of our strategy into the ‘how’."

The Housing Strategy and the Housing Needs Assessment reports are available on the Council website at kapiticoast.govt.nz/housing.

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