Increasing support for tenants and delivering more houses for people in need are some of Housing New Zealand’s (HNZ) key achievements in 2017/18, which are outlined in its latest Annual Report that was released today.
HNZ Board Chair Adrienne Young-Cooper says over the past year the agency has been strengthening its focus on the needs of tenants by changing both its role and the way it works, focusing on ensuring its 185,000 customers have stable housing that will enable better life outcomes and healthier communities.
‘’We're making this happen by developing new ways of operating, including expanding the range of support services we provide to our tenants and tailoring them to different tenant groups,’’ says Mrs Young-Cooper.
‘’We’re also better matching the homes we build with specific tenant needs and making it easier for tenants to interact with us as we maintain and manage our homes.
‘’Understanding our tenants needs now and into the future is critical for this change to be delivered effectively. Our Customer Strategy will provide us with an informed and coordinated framework to work within and will be closely followed by a new Service Delivery Model. Both will be operating in the coming year.’’
Complementing HNZ’s deliberate and compassionate care approach with its customers are its maintenance and development programmes.
With New Zealand facing a significant shortage of homes, HNZ stepped up its asset development programme and added 2,188 homes in 2017/18, including 1,036 new builds and redevelopments, a big increase on the 1,524 homes delivered in the previous year.
In Auckland, where demand’s greatest, HNZ added 1,511 houses, up from 943 in 2016/17.
A large investment was also made in its existing houses with $474 million spent upgrading and maintaining properties, improving the quality of its homes for tenants, and the completion of nearly 450,000 repairs.
Nearly 8,500 homes also had a Warm and Dry upgrade which sees houses fitted out with new insulation, carpets, thermal curtains and extraction fans. Since 2015 32,000 homes have received a Warm and Dry upgrade.
Mrs Young-Cooper says good progress was made in 2017/18 by making its houses available for people to live in as quickly as possible.
‘’We’ve reduced the time it takes to have a property ready to let after becoming vacant to 19 days, compared with the target of 24 days. In 2015/16, on average, a property remained vacant for 38 days between tenancies.
‘’We’re also increasing the pace we repair and renew homes with major damage, meaning more homes are available for tenanting. Over the year we’ve reduced the number of properties in this category from 703 to 419.
‘’That has meant there are well over 1,000 more homes available for people to live in every day.’’
Other encouraging results include the issuing of 1,674 Welcome Home Loans, an increase on the 1,381 issued in the previous year which has helped more people get into their own homes.
HNZ has achieved these results while maintaining robust oversight of its $26.7 billion housing portfolio, one of the Crown’s largest assets, and returning an operating surplus before tax of $125 million. That surplus is reinvested into HNZ homes.