INDEPENDENT NEWS

Enjoying Benefits Of Income Related Rents

Published: Fri 30 Nov 2001 12:12 AM
After a year of income related rents approximately 53,000 low income families are enjoying the benefits, Housing Minister Mark Gosche said today.
Under the scheme, introduced a year ago tomorrow, low income state house tenants pay no more than 25% of their income in rent. Ninety per cent of state tenants are paying an income related rent.
“The most tangible benefit is the extra money in the hands of those who most need it. On average we estimate that people have an extra $35 every week as a result, and in areas of Auckland that figure is between $50-$60.”
“That extra money is changing people’s lives. Community workers report state house tenants are now able to buy better quality food than before. That has major health spin-offs. And there is money for things like school trips and even family holidays that were only a dream for many state tenants in the past.”
In addition Housing New Zealand applications to the Tenancy Tribunal for rent arrears have also significantly reduced, as tenants are now able to afford their rents.
“But aside from the money there is another major benefit of the policy.”
Turnover in state houses has also nearly halved, from 32% in June 2000 to 17% now because people no longer have to move on because they couldn’t afford the rent. Comments from teachers suggest that children are more likely to stay at one school as a result.
“If low-income families lack secure, affordable housing, their family lives are disrupted. They move house more than they would otherwise. This has an impact on the children’s achievement at school, and can start another chain of disadvantage. I have seen this happen time after time in my own electorate.”
“With income related rents we are helping break the poverty cycle.”
Ends

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