CFFC welcomes Budget funding to improve home ownership

Press Release – Commission for Financial Capability

CFFC welcomes Budget funding to improve Māori and Pasifika home ownership

The Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) looks forward to scaling up its Sorted community programmes to help more Māori and Pasifika families into home ownership, thanks to an allocation of around $3 million in this year’s Budget.

CFFC will partner with Government agencies to develop and deliver Sorted programmes to 300 Pasifika households each year for the next four years.

CFFC will also continue to support Te Puni Kōkiri in delivering Sorted Kāinga Ora, a financial capability programme developed jointly by the two agencies to help whānau to achieve their housing aspirations. The additional funding will allow 300 whanau to access Sorted Kainga Ora workshops.

CFFC’s GM Community Programmes, Peter Cordtz, says it is heartening to see the success of the Sorted programmes recognised with additional funding for expansion.

“Financial capability is key to achieving home ownership – we’ve seen the results of our Sorted courses helping families pay off debt, save a deposit and get into a position to take on a mortgage,” says Cordtz. “In turn home ownership leads to increased wellbeing in a range of areas – improved health and education outcomes for children, financial resilience to deal with unexpected costs, and stronger links to the local community. It can also mean less reliance on government support at retirement.”

CFFC is the office of the Retirement Commissioner, and the Budget funding is significant in the year of the three yearly Review of Retirement Income Policies. Two of the Review’s terms of reference require study of policies that could improve retirement outcomes for vulnerable and low income groups, and the impact declining home ownership will have on government retirement income policy.

“This recognises our work within our broader remit of helping improve retirement outcomes for all New Zealanders, with particular focus on Māori and Pacific peoples,” says Cordtz.

Over the past four years CFFC has partnered with a number of community organisations such as Vaka Tautua and Pasifika Futures, and with Te Puni Kōkiri, to deliver financial capability courses in ways that meet the needs of Pasifika and Māori communities. Some are designed to help families toward home ownership, such as the shared-equity programme run with the Tāmaki Regeneration Company and the Housing Foundation. This year, the first four families to qualify for the shared-equity model in Tāmaki moved into their first homes. All were Pasifika or Māori.

“The families have told us that undertaking a Sorted course changed their lives for the better,” says Cordtz. “Improving their financial capability not only helped them prepare for home ownership, but also gave them lessons they could pass onto their children.”

Pasifika households primarily in Auckland, Waikato and Wellington who do not currently own a home and have sufficient income to service a mortgage will be eligible to take a Sorted programme to help them achieve their home ownership aspirations. Māori families can access a Sorted Kāinga Ora course through Te Puni Kōkiri.

Home ownership among Māori and Pasifika has been in steady decline for the past 30 years. In 2013 Pasifika home ownership had fallen to 18%, compared to 50% for all of New Zealand, the lowest of any ethnicity.

MBIE research indicates about 9,000 Pasifika households have enough income to potentially service a mortgage, but find barriers in raising a deposit and obtaining finance.

“Sorted’s financial capability courses show participants what is possible, and how to reach their goal of home ownership,” says Cordtz. “For many, they will be the first in their families to own their own home, and the benefits will ripple through generations.”

Click here to find out more about Sorted Kāinga Ora and watch a video

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