Local government housing, older tenants and adverse natural events

Kay Saville-Smith, Ruth Fraser
Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment (CRESA)
Publication date:

In the 2013 census 16,317 people rented a council dwelling, most are aged over fifty-five years. Local government has a long history of providing rental accommodation for the small proportion of older people who have been unable to enter or retain home ownership and require secure housing in the rental market. Only a tiny proportion of all older people live in council rentals. Most older people in New Zealand are owner occupiers.

Older tenants in council rentals tend to be particularly vulnerable. They typically have had limited life chances when young and have been exposed to persistent economic disadvantage throughout their lives. This can be associated with disability or illness or isolation. Those characteristics present older tenants themselves as well as councils with particular challenges in the context of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from adverse natural events.

The difficulties for communities and the people who live in council housing have been highlighted by the damage to the Christchurch council stock from the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011 and 2012. But earthquakes are not the only adverse natural event that can impact on council housing and the older people who live in them. New Zealand’s geography makes it vulnerable to high winds, coastal flooding, river flooding, and issues with storm water management. The vulnerability of older people to those events and the importance of council housing to the vulnerable old that rent their dwellings have prompted this component of the research programme into older people and community resilience – Resilient Communities: Older People Doing Better in Bad Times.

This report presents data generated by a national survey of councils. It details how they are approaching the prospects of adverse natural events in the context of their housing stocks....(Introduction, p1)

See also:

Local Government Housing Resilience Survey

Community Resilience and Good Ageing: Doing Better in Bad Times, www.goodhomes.co.nz


Last updated: 2017-01-19