21 Dec 2022

'Stresses removed from their lives' - Investment helps Ōtautahi housing future

7:16 pm on 21 December 2022
An artists' illustration of the proposed development.

An artists' illustration of the proposed development. Photo: Supplied / Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust.

Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust says a multi-million dollar investment will help 35 whānau into new homes next year.

The trust has received $14 million from a KiwiSaver scheme to cover the building costs of the project in the Christchurch suburb of Spreydon.

Trust chief executive Cate Kearney said thousands of people were in need of an affordable home in the city.

"At the moment, we have about 2000 people looking for a home on any given day in Christchurch and there's 25,000 people across New Zealand needing a home," she said.

Those numbers were from the national housing register maintained by the Ministry for Social Development, which the trust used.

There had been a significant increase in demand for affordable housing since the trust was created six years ago, Kearney said.

"People are really struggling at the moment in New Zealand and they've been struggling even before Ukraine and the cost of living.

"Rents are so high that they can't manage to go into the private market ... so they need support."

Each home in this project comes with a 25-year government contract which guarantees residents will only have to spend a quarter of their income on rent, she explained.

"That way we get a family into a home, their rent is affordable, their life improves [because] it's easier to get to school, it's easier to feed everyone.

"Suddenly, a whole set of stresses are removed from their lives which allows them to actually have a better life in general."

The homes had also been designed to create a community environment, she added.

"We've got 35 homes, some of those are one-bedroom but we've also put quite a lot of family homes because it's such an amazing site - it's really close to a school, right next door to a park.

"We really want to have that sense of a family community and giving people the opportunity to walk across a field and they're at a school. It's just beautiful."

Construction had already begun on the Willard Street homes, and they were expected to be completed by September 2023.

Kearney said there were also a further 100 homes across the city in the planning stages of development.

About 200 homes had already been completed by the trust since 2019.

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