Boy at home with family

Housing

Social housing and the Ministry of Social Development

Social housing is a vital part of New Zealand’s social support system, providing a stable base where vulnerable people can build better and more independent lives.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD):

  • works with people who need help with housing and social support
  • manages the Social Housing Register of applications for social housing
  • contracts social housing tenancies by paying the Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS) to registered community housing providers and Housing New Zealand
  • leads the Social Housing Reform Programme, working with other agencies, providers and the housing sector to increase social housing tenancies and create responsive social housing that meets diverse needs
  • develops current and future plans on where to contract social housing tenancies to inform investment decisions
  • develops initiatives to achieve better outcomes for people with complex issues and housing needs.

Housing support for people in need

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) works with people who need help with housing, transitional (or emergency) housing and social support.

When a person or family living in social housing is ready to make the step towards more independence, we offer a range of housing support products to help people into the private housing market. MSD carries out regular reviews to determine if tenants still need social housing, and supports those who are ready to move onwards.


Managing the Social Housing Register

MSD manages the Social Housing Register of applications for social housing. People who have applied and are eligible for social housing go on the Housing Register. Social housing tenants who have applied to transfer to another place go on the Transfer Register. Together, the two registers make up the Social Housing Register, which gives valuable data about demand for social housing and the needs of New Zealanders in relation to social housing.


Contracting social housing tenancies and IRRS

MSD contracts social housing tenancies by paying a rent subsidy for each tenancy to Housing New Zealand and registered community housing providers. Social housing tenants pay no more than 25 per cent of their income in rent, and MSD pays the balance as the Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS).


Social Housing Reform Programme

MSD leads the Social Housing Reform Programme to increase and diversify social housing, combined with support initiatives to help vulnerable New Zealanders to build more independent lives.

Five government agencies are working together, engaging Community providers and the housing sector to:

  • increase and diversify the supply of social housing, including transitional (or emergency) housing
  • support people with services to help them stay safely housed, address the issues that put them at risk and build more independent lives.

More social, emergency,  and transitional housing

Demand for social housing has been increasing. We have moved fast to house and support people who urgently need a place to live, with emergency housing grants and more transitional housing places.

Social Housing Purchasing Strategy

MSD’s Social Housing Purchasing Strategy sets out where social housing is needed over the next few years. It helps providers, investors and developers make investment decisions about social housing.

Region by region, we are enlisting the housing sector and community providers to create responsive social housing that meets diverse needs.


Initiatives and support for better housing outcomes

We are trialling ways to get better results for people with complex issues and housing needs.


Housing people faster

We are focused on reducing the time it takes to house people with a severe need for housing. Our 2021 target is to cut the time to house these people by 20 per cent. This is a Better Public Services target called Result 8: Better access to social housing.