Need for housing in Northland at all time high ahead of winter

Source: 1News

As winter begins the need for housing in Northland has reached an all-time high. There are now 1500 families on the waiting list for emergency housing, a 600% increase in demand in just five years.

Pin and his dog have been living in this derelict supermarket in Kaitāia for a year.

Far North district councillor Felicity foy says the housing situation in the region is in “crisis”.

“We have a huge waiting list and these are not just people who have social housing issues these are everyday mum and dad families

Five years ago there were less than 250 whānau on the housing register waiting for a home with that number has now rocketed to nearly 1500.

“There are probably many more that aren't even on the register that just aren't prepared to put themselves on the register for whatever reason and so were probably under counting,” Te Aupōuri ceo Mareameno Kapa-Kingi said.

Kāinga Ora is making some progress with 140 new homes being built in the region, 13 in Kaitāia.

It's the largest public housing development in the town, in decades.

Thirty-seven homes at Puriri Park in Whangārei will be ready just in time for winter.

Those working on the ground say the underlying issue is more people moving north. Rising house prices and Covid-19 have families leaving the big cities, adding pressure to an already-stretched housing market.

This eye sore in the centre of Kaitāia could offer some hope. After being derelict for 11 years the council has entered into an agreement with Foodstuffs and the site is now set to become affordable housing.

“This is an ideal place for more intensive housing that means we could go up instead of having a sprawl we could provide more housing within a smaller land area and that means more houses for more people and what will be key is the social housing provider,” foy said.

There's push back from some in the community, who want more businesses in the centre.

“I guess it's a concern that were not sure what sort of housing is going to go here we haven't seen any plans still at high level discussions at the moment but there is just a worry that we would rather have like the big box shops,” Andrea Panther from Kaitāia Business Association said.