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Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith has welcomed a new contract between the Ministry of Social Development and the Salvation Army for two emergency homes in Nelson.

“This is the first time any Government has provided financial support for emergency housing for families in Nelson. We are responding to this need by getting more houses built, growing the availability of social housing and now with this new support for emergency housing.

“Nelson has long had a men’s shelter and a women’s refuge but there has always been a gap for families in emergency housing need. This new service will enable us to provide immediate shelter for families, but also the support to help find a more long term solution. The new contract is part of a $300 million national emergency housing fund established last year. The Salvation Army is a wonderful organisation and it makes good sense for the Government to partner with them for this new emergency support. The three year contract is for just over $300,000 and includes funding for rent, furnishings, property improvements and maintenance as well as the staff to help find long term sustainable accommodation.”

“The Nelson housing market is under increased pressure because we are doing well and have become an increasingly popular place to live. We have a strongly growing economy, good job prospects, a safe community, good quality health and education services, and a great lifestyle. The political turmoil in Europe and North America and the economic slow down in Australia is also making New Zealand and Nelson more attractive.

“There is no single magic bullet to Nelson’s housing challenges and this emergency housing initiative is just part of our programme. New home construction in Nelson at 384 in the last year is at the highest rate in more than a decade. The new Homestart Scheme has helped 500 first home buyers since its introduction on 1 April 2015. We also have a programme to expand Nelson’s social housing by an additional 15 homes.”

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