Facing the challenges of housing seniors

Publish Date : 17 Jun 2016
Facing the challenges of housing seniors

Auckland’s population is getting older. It is estimated that, by 2041, people over 65 will make up around a quarter of New Zealand’s population. This is expected to increase to between 24 and 32 per cent of the population by 2068.

Auckland’s aging population presents unique challenges for both central and local government, one of which is housing affordability for seniors.

Auckland Council’s new investigation into seniors housing identified the following:

  • high costs of accommodation (renting and for financially vulnerable owner‐occupiers) may impact on seniors’ ability to remain within existing communities, or age in place
  • unequal health and well-being outcomes as a result of housing tenure
  • limited housing choices suitable for seniors
  • potential for first-time homelessness in older age
  • increased demand for social housing, financial assistance for housing facilities and aged care.

You can read the council report here. This aims to help all stakeholders understand the housing experiences and challenges for older Aucklanders in the future.  

A nationwide issue

While local councils and the housing sector can contribute to solutions, housing affordability for seniors requires a strong commitment from central government, says Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse.

“Councils certainly have a role to play in addressing housing for older people, but we can only do some of the work. Right now we’re at a critical juncture where the government must step in to make sure that accommodation supplements and superannuation keep pace with the cost of living in Auckland.”

How we’re responding to the challenge

Although the council does not build homes, it plays a key role in facilitating housing by:

  • providing development opportunities to meet Auckland’s housing needs
  • continuously seeking to provide quicker, quality consenting approvals
  • ensuring infrastructure is in place where new homes are built
  • providing leadership through the Auckland Unitary Plan – a single planning rule-book that provides clear direction on long-term housing supply and facilitates housing choices.

Auckland Council housing stock

Auckland Council owns more than 1400 housing units for older Aucklanders. Many of these are in need of upgrade work and are in places that are not well-connected to essential community services.

We’ve come up with a new way of managing and developing this portfolio and are currently asking Aucklanders, particularly those who may be in need of this service, whether they support a change to a partnership approach.

Late last year we identified The Selwyn Foundation as our preferred partner for this proposal, if Aucklanders agreed to this new approach.  

Supporting new social housing

The council is working with Housing New Zealand, community housing providers and the Ministry of Social Development to support the delivery of new social housing in Auckland by providing infrastructure, planning and consenting support.

Supporting emergency housing

In the council’s 10-year budget (the Long-term Plan 2015-2025), we’ve allocated $250,000 towards emergency housing each year over the next two years

Special Housing Areas

To help combat Auckland’s housing crisis, Special Housing Areas (SHAs) are being established across the region. SHAs have a requirement to provide either 5 per cent retained affordable housing, or 10 per cent relative affordable housing.


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