“Another housing policy ‘blind spot’ has been exposed – the situation of up to 230,000 baby boomers who are likely to enter retirement without owning their own homes, many of whom will be on low incomes”. This was the response of NZCCSS Executive Officer Trevor McGlinchey to the latest report from the Salvation Army, ‘Homeless Baby Boomers: housing poorer baby boomers in their retirement’ released today.
The report offers fresh and perceptive insights into the dual challenges of income adequacy and housing affordability as we move forward into a future defined by increasing life expectancy.
“We need well thought through and considered responses to ensure all New Zealanders can receive adequate incomes to live with dignity and participation in our society. Alongside this we must work hard to shape a variety of good quality housing responses that work for the more than a third of our population who are renting. As more and more people enter retirement as renters, we have to change our assumptions as a society about how we meet the needs of the most vulnerable,” says Trevor McGlinchey.
The report makes the connection between good quality housing and the need for aged residential care for older people. “There are many older people on low incomes among the people our member social services work with around the country and our agencies are among the major providers of rest homes and other residential aged care,” says Trevor McGlinchey. “We need to be addressing the need for more aged care at the same time as developing a greater variety of affordable and good quality housing alternatives for ageing baby boomers.”
“Our members also provide rental and retirement village housing to thousands of older New Zealanders,” says Trevor McGlinchey. “There just isn’t enough of the right kind of housing and current Government policy does not make it easy for not-for-profit agencies to access funding to invest in developing new and innovative models of housing for older people.”
“The current approach to housing is too inflexible and does not offer enough hope for those on low incomes. Local government plays a vital role in providing affordable housing for older people and this report highlights just how essential the classic “council flat” is. Yet in some regions the local authority housing is old and in need of refurbishment or replacement. It is vital that central and local government to work together with communities to re-shape housing for older people that is fit for the challenge of our ageing population. That is a big task that we all need to support.”
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is the umbrella organisation of the churches’ social service agencies in Aotearoa. Our members are Anglican Care Network, Baptist Churches of Aotearoa New Zealand, Catholic Social Services, Presbyterian Support NZ, the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army.