About public housing 

Public housing is a vital part of our social support system, providing families, individuals and whānau with a stable, affordable place to live. Public housing is owned or leased by Kāinga Ora - Homes and Community (Kāinga Ora) or Community Housing Providers (CHPs). It is targeted at households that are most in need of housing, who can’t access or sustain a tenancy in the private rental market for a range of reasons. 

About transitional housing 

Transitional housing gives families, whānau and individuals a warm, dry, safe place to stay if they’re in immediate and severe need of housing. They’re also provided with wrap-around support services to help them find longer-term accommodation and deal with some of the barriers they face in finding a permanent home.

Read more about transitional housing

Increasing the supply of public and transitional housing 

There’s a growing need for public housing in Aotearoa New Zealand. HUD is partnering with Kāinga Ora, iwi and Māori, CHPs, and local government to address housing shortages. 

See data about public and transitional housing on the Housing Dashboard. 

Public Housing Plan 

The Public Housing Plan 2021- 2024 outlines the locations and number of additional public and transitional housing places to be delivered by June 2024. Although new public and transitional housing will continue to be built around the country, the plan focuses on nine locations where there is an urgent need for public housing: Northland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Napier, Hastings, Palmerston North and Whanganui. 

Read more about the Public Housing Plan.(external link) 

Public Housing Design Guidance for Community Housing Providers and Developers - Update

About the Guidance

HUD is working with Community Housing Providers (CHPs) and developers to increase the supply of new public housing.

HUD is often asked for support and guidance by the sector on design elements of new build developments. We have therefore worked with the sector and wider stakeholders to put forward Public Housing Design Guidance which help ensures all new homes are of good quality and fit for years of sustainable, comfortable living by their occupants.

Public housing residents do not have the same degree of choice as to what type of house they live in as those New Zealanders in the private rental market; this guide has therefore been created with the needs of a broad range of future residents at heart, and our belief that everyone deserves a good quality home.

This guidance now replaces the current Fit-for-Purpose High Level Guidelines. The new document provides guidance on design objectives and provide direction on the desired level of amenity HUD wants to promote in future long-term public housing which accesses the Income Related Rent Subsidy.

Many of the specific design details relate to a general, rather than targeted resident cohort, with there being an ability to discuss any proposed variations with the HUD – New Supply team early in the process. This document should not be interpreted as strictly imposed standards, rather a guidance document for a collaborative design process.

Download to read more about the Public Housing Design Guidance (PDF, 7.5 MB)

Partner with us 

Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is committed to working in partnership with CHPs on new housing opportunities. New public housing provided by CHPs needs to complement the delivery of public homes by Kāinga Ora, in line with the approach set out in the Public Housing Plan.  

See what we look for in proposals. Read more about partnering with us. 

How to access public housing 

People can access public housing when they are assessed by Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora – Ministry of Social Development as being in severe need of housing support and are placed on the Public Housing Register.  

The Public Housing Register shows applicants who are eligible for, but not currently in, public housing who are ready to be matched to a suitable property. The register helps us understand who needs public housing, where the housing is needed and what kind of housing is needed. 

See the Public Housing Register on the Ministry of Social Development’s website(external link)  


How public housing is funded

  • Income-related rent subsidy 

    The majority of public housing tenants pay an income-related rent determined by the Ministry of Social Development, with the amount generally set at 25 per cent of their net income. 
    HUD pays an income-related rent subsidy to Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities and registered Community Housing Providers (CHPs) to cover the balance between the tenant’s rental payment and the market rent for the property. 

    Read more about the Income-related rent subsidy.

  • Operating Supplement 

    The Operating Supplement is one of the ways HUD provides funding to Kāinga Ora and CHPs to build more public housing places.  

    The Operating Supplement is a funding subsidy paid in addition to the Income-Related Rent Subsidy for eligible net new public houses to help enable new build supply. The Operating Supplement is calculated as a percentage of market rent up to a percentage cap. 

    Read more about the Operating Supplement.