• Video: Hastings Mayor proud of reduction in emergency housing in region

Video: Hastings Mayor proud of reduction in emergency housing in region

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst is proud that her Council’s housing strategy has seen a drop of 77 per cent in emergency housing in the region.

According to Ministry of Social Development figures, at the end of March, 285 people in 117 Hastings households were living in emergency accommodation, namely motels.

At the end of September 2023, that was down to 66 people in 39 households - a 77 per cent drop.

The Council has credited this drop to the district’s place-based housing strategy, which was introduced as a pilot project in 2019. This came about after a reported two-thirds of the district's motel rooms were being used for emergency accommodation.

In an interview with Hawke’s Bay App last month, Hazlehurst said: “We are really proud of that.”

“It started in 2019, and what we could see was all our motels being full with emergency accommodation, and we took a Hastings place-based housing plan to the government, and the Prime Minister came here. We launched the plan and four years later, we're incredibly proud of what we've delivered.”

“And it's not us delivering at all. It's our partners. It's with mana whenua and our tai whenua and it's also with the Crown and our private developers. We meet monthly to look at our housing, to look at where the next opportunities are and to work with our partners.”

She says the Council has land in Flaxmere which it hopes to put 300 affordable homes on.

“Quality affordable homes because that's the end of the market that people are really struggling to get into homeownership or long-term rentals, and that's a really important part of our plan.”

Hazlehurst says the issue is that the district does not have enough rental accommodation.

“And so we've got about a thousand houses coming across new green fields developments, but we need more affordable homes, and that's our big focus at the moment.”

“It's great to see the investment in Hastings and it has been working with the government and with our private sector every month. That's how hard it's been, but we're seeing the results now and it's taken four years.”