The Christchurch deputy mayor says the city council is changing how it manages its social housing to allow it to get financial help from the government.
The council is seeking proposals from organisations to form a Community Housing Provider, which would enable it to receive the government's income-related subsidy.
It set up a Housing Management board to oversee the creation of the provider.
Deputy mayor Vicki Buck, who is also the board's chair, said the council would hold a 49 percent share and lease its stock to the new entity.
"It's very limited risk for the council because we still keep ownership of all of our housing. So from our point of view we know that the rules and politics change quite often and so we've kept every door open. And this creates quite a good hybrid situation for us."
With 2200 units, the council is the second largest provider of social housing in the country.