The future of 'council flats'

By: Steve Morris

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

There were a few headlines bandied about in the media last week that may have caused concern among residents of Tauranga’s elder housing. So, let’s be clear. Tauranga City Council has no intention whatsoever of raising rents for council flats to a ‘market-level’ or leaving residents homeless.

What is proposed is an investigation about working with a community housing provider to improve the quality of life for our residents while keeping rents low or less. None of the units are under 25 years old and a third of them are 50 years old. While residents take pride in their homes, I believe we can do better for them at no cost to the ratepayer. Size is one thing. Many residents have to park their mobility scooters in their lounge as there is nowhere else to put them. The Pitau Rd flats were built in a different era and have no space for a washing machine. There is a communal laundry which is okay for a backpackers but not our seniors living there full-time.

TCC elder housing is set up to be self-funding but we must keep rents low to make them affordable. What gives? Quality. By allowing the right community housing provider to manage or own the flats instead of council, the villages will receive a cash top-up from government to a ‘market-rent’ level to be reinvested in the units and build more. Whatever happens, covenants will be in place to protect existing residents. If you have concerns, please call me on 07 542 1602.