The need for affordable and public housing continues to grow, a recent survey on housing need by the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust shows.
The survey shows 447 Nelson-Tasman households on the waitlist for public housing as of the end of June last year, up from 405 the previous quarter. There were another 425 households who didn't qualify for public housing, but were in dire need of affordable housing.
Nelson Tasman Housing Trust director Carrie Mozena said the figures were alarming, and there were many stories of hardship behind them. They included a mother sleeping in her car with an 8-month-old baby, and an older man living in a leaky caravan because he couldn't afford to rent anywhere or stay at backpacker hostels.
"It's clear that rising living costs are helping push more people into housing need. There are many more 'working poor' who don't qualify for public housing but who struggle to afford private rentals."
Support agencies were also reporting that they were fielding more requests for housing help from single people aged over 60, she said. They included people forced to leave long-term rentals or homes where they were boarding with family.
“Our survey highlights the huge need for more affordable rentals and social housing in this region. While housing providers such as ourselves are building new homes, our population is growing at a faster rate. We need the Government to commit to growing the supply of affordable housing in Nelson Tasman by investing more in new-build programmes run by skilled community housing providers.’’
The trust carries out the housing need survey every six months, collecting data from housing providers, campgrounds and community support agencies.