Council makes no plans as housing demands grow
An Old Persons’ Policy Review initiated by the council says there is a growing under-supply of housing for older people.
However the council has no capacity to increase numbers and is focusing its spending on upgrading social housing, says city council social portfolio leader Stephanie Cook.
She says increasing safety and promoting neighbour awareness is a major drive and there is a meeting with tenants in a couple of weeks to identify vulnerable or isolated tenants who might keep to themselves.
In September Michael Clarke’s body was found after he had lay dead for over a year without his neighbours or the council knowing.
The 88-year-old had lived in Newtown Park Flats in Mansfield St, Newtown.
While the council do not make personal visits to elderly themselves they want to try link these tenants with services such as Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels and Age Concern (who can visit tenants), she says.
“We are not an institution – we can’t force them,” she says.
Encouraging community action is a goal and if tenants know someone living in their block they should keep an eye out and if they notice no lights on or haven’t seen them in a while they should contact the council.
She says the housing upgrade has changed the layout of housing in the past.
Before there were corridors with lots of doors but now there are more entrances with fewer flats, people will only have about six neighbours.
There is swipe card access enabling more safety and more neighbour awareness, she says.
The Wellington City Council website says 47% of tenants living in social housing are more than 50 years old.
The upgrade of Newtown housing is part of the $400 million Housing Upgrade Project that is jointly funded by the Government and spans 20 years.