Turning down state houses

Stuff reports:

Social housing applicants will be taken off the waiting list for three months if they decline even one property for insufficient reasons, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

Opposition parties have criticised the crackdown as “dog-whistle politics” and accused Bennett of targeting the poor instead of addressing the housing shortage.

Bennett has confirmed a chance in policy regarding social housing applicants, saying some people were being “unrealistically picky” when offered a place to live and clogging up the waiting list.

“We actually pay hundreds of millions of subsidies for people to be in homes, and on the waitlist we’ve got people who are really desperate and we want to house them as quickly as we can.”

A state house is a privilege. You get a massive subsidy from taxpayers to cover its cost. I’m fine with that, as some people need assistance with housing. But if you want the massive subsidy, then you don’t get the same degree of choice as people who cover the rent themselves.

Of the 10,000 social housing offers made last year, Bennett said nearly 3500 had been declined, with 414 of those for “unacceptable reasons” such as wanting a garage or a bigger backyard.

So around 88% of refusals are for valid reasons, but close to 12% are not.

Social housing applicants would also be required to name a minimum of three suburbs they could live in, up from one previously.

That does not sound unreasonable.

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