Progress Report - 2006/2007
Buildings (including housing)
Objective 6: Foster an aware and responsive public service.
Objective 8: Support quality living in the community for disabled people.
Accessible buildings and houses are essential to enable disabled people to fully participate. The accessibility of buildings and houses affect every aspect of a disabled person’s life. If a building is not accessible, then it is very difficult to seek employment from a business in that building.
The Department of Building and Housing has:
- issued two new guidance documents Accessible reception and service counters and The international symbols of access
- recommended changes to legislation to require early notification to building developers of access requirements for ‘public use’ buildings, and to provide better information and rights for disabled people living in retirement villages.
Housing New Zealand Corporation has the following activities:
- Community Group Housing programme provides 474 residential homes to community groups who provide residential services to disabled people)
- Housing Innovation Fund provides loans and grants to community-based organisations and local authorities to build capacity to acquire, build or purchase housing to accommodate people with unmet housing including disabled people
- Case Management provides a housing need assessment and agency co-ordination service for state tenants / applicants with complex needs, to ensure sustainability of their accommodation. Over 2006 / 2007 they assisted 1877 customers with complex needs, including many disabled customers
- Suitable Homes Service helps people with physical disabilities access public or privately owned modified housing. In 2006 / 2007 the service assisted 512 people to access suitably modified homes
- Acquisition Programme provides, maintains, and redevelops housing stock to meet needs of customers, including disabled people. The Corporation uses universal design principles in all new builds, and provides purpose built housing for disabled people
- Income Related Rents – disabled people often have lower than average incomes and low-income state tenants are currently charged an income related rent, which means they pay no more than 25% of their income on rent.
Living in the community
Housing New Zealand Corporation led a project to relocate former residents of the Kimberley Centre (Levin) into the community – Kimberley (closed on 20 October 2006) was the last of the 13 institutions for people with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities to have closed in the last two decades.
Seventy-four community houses have been provided in community settings. Of these, 23 new houses were built and another 51 existing houses were extensively modified and customised to better meet the residents’ needs.
The completed houses have been designed to a new quality standard and are future proofed to cater for the diverse needs of a wide range of disabled people over time.