Community Housing Concepts and Definitions

See below an explanation of terminology used within the affordable and social housing sector.

Affordable housing

Affordable housing is accommodation in which the total housing costs are affordable for those living in the housing unit. The commonly accepted guideline for housing affordability is a cost that does not exceed 30% of a household’s gross income. Affordable housing is usually, although not exclusively, provided by social housing providers and can comprise both rental and home ownership.

Community housing – third sector housing

Community housing is social and affordable housing provided by non-profit community organisations. Third sector housing refers to housing that is not provided by the private market (first sector) or public/government agencies (second sector). Third sector is housing provided by community not-for-profit and social enterprises.

Housing continuum

The housing continuum provides a framework for understanding the housing needs and the range of housing choices (rental and ownership, market and non-market) available to households in varying economic and social circumstances. It stresses the importance of providing a range of housing options to assist with and provide a pathway for people to move from dependent to less dependent housing.

Mixed housing

Creation of a variety of housing types in a given development or community. Within a social and community housing concept it can be used to describe a mixture of housing types (types of houses within the development) as well as housing tenure groups (usually based around housing and affordability needs).


Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. It capitalises on a local community’s assets, ideas and potential, ultimately creating good public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and wellbeing. Placemaking is both a process and a philosophy. It is an important consideration in the design, upgrade and/or development of new social and affordable housing.

Social housing

Social housing is predominantly rental housing provided for people on low incomes (primarily receiving income support), who also face multiple barriers to accessing and sustaining accommodation.

State housing

This is the term for Social housing provided by the Government and owned and managed by Housing New Zealand.


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