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Council washes hands of pensioner housing

Hamilton City Council is washing its hands of its social responsibility to care for its elderly residents by selling off its homes for pensioners, Labour’s Hamilton-based MP Sue Moroney says.

“The Council’s decision to sell its remaining 344 pensioner housing units amounts to a fire sale of an important asset that has been built up over decades by Hamilton ratepayers.

“They will be sold to social housing providers who have made it clear that they will only buy at a substantially discounted rate.

“This sale is a stepping stone to privatisation. Rest homes previously sold to religious and welfare organisation have ended up in the hands of overseas companies.

“Homelessness has noticeably increased in Hamilton over the past few years and this decision will add to the city’s housing woes.

“While the Council has bound providers to retain the houses as social housing for 10 years, income-related rent subsidies are only available for new tenants, meaning the providers are either going to be struggling for cash or will end up evicting existing tenants.

“The Hamilton City Council appears to be taking its lead from the National Government which has yet to disclose how many of the 3000 state houses in Hamilton it will sell off.

“Unlike National, Labour wants to expand social housing to give more struggling Kiwi families the benefit of a decent and secure roof over their heads,” Sue Moroney says.