‘How do we generate a rental sector and rental stock that is responsive to older tenants? ‘ was the theme of the summit held on 30 May 2017 in Tauranga. Over 60 people attended, including older people and others from a wide range of organisations from the Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, Auckland, Wellington and Marlborough. The summit was an opportunity to report back on early findings. The highlight of the lively day was the guest address by Dr Rob Wiener, Executive Director of California Coalition for Rural Housing and Continuing Lecturer in community and regional development at the University of California, Davis. Rob presented four best practice case studies of Californian rental housing for very low-income older people, on universal design and adaptability, services and amenities enriched housing, intergenerational housing and housing for special-needs seniors. The other presenters included:
- Dr Natalie Jackson’s cohort analysis of changes in home ownership and renting based on census data from 1986-2013 showed the clear decline in home ownership and rise in renting in every territorial authority area.
- Professor Jackie Cumming Dr Janet McDonald and Megan Pledger’s analysis of NZ Health Survey data showed older renters are more likely than older home owners to report poorer mental and physical health.
- Bev James, Prof Robin Kearns and his team, Dr. Fiona Cram and Dr. Elsie Ho reported on interviews with older renters and service providers in Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty and Auckland. Early findings are that moving from home-ownership to renting is common, often due to financial or personal ‘shocks’. Most rent from private landlords, are on limited, fixed incomes and rely on the Accommodation Supplement to assist with their housing costs.
- Fiona’s work with kaumātua highlighted their input into designing papakainga housing and the use of innovative lifetime design.
- Elsie noted the importance of cultural concepts of elder care, as well as older Asians’ appreciation of living close to services, public transport and family.
- Kay Saville-Smith talked about the challenges and opportunities the ageing population pose for landlords. Many landlords are not aware of the demand for housing from older tenants, the subsidies available to assist older tenants, and how landlords might be able to work together with service providers.