59 new community housing units big boost for West Auckland
Low income earners, people with disabilities and the homeless will be the biggest benefactors of a new housing project earmarked for West Auckland.
Three community housing organisations will build 59 units in New Lynn, Kelston, Avondale and Henderson after receiving Social Housing Unit grants from Housing New Zealand.
The Social Housing Fund was created last year to increase the growth of community housing providers.
The funding comes as Housing Minister Nick Smith reduces the number of state-owned social houses and increases the number offered by community groups.
In May Mr Smith told Fairfax Media that community housing providers had a better track record at moving people into the private housing sector.
Grants totalling more than $10 million were approved for Vision West Community Trust, Accessible Properties Auckland and New Zealand Housing Foundation.
The dwellings will be for rental and assisted home ownership for low income households, people with disabilities or emergency housing for the homeless.
West Auckland has the highest Housing New Zealand waiting list in the country, with 180 people on the top priority list for Henderson and Westgate in August compared to 164 in Christchurch. Locations of the units were designated by council-run organisation Auckland Council Property who identified the land as "surplus to requirements".
Accessible Properties New Zealand general manager Andrew Wilson says nearness to town centres is a key aspect of social housing because many tenants either do not have a vehicle or cannot drive.
Accessible Properties Auckland are building 18 units in Sturges Rd and Merchant Quarter with the first due to be finished in March next year.
Rent will be based on the lower quartile of the average rent for each suburb.
Mr Wilson says the units have been built to achieve a four-star Lifemark score to cater to the disabled.
There is a shortage of properties with these features so preference will be given to people who can make use of them, he says.
New Zealand Housing Foundation received $4.2m to build 29 units in Avondale valued at $9.7m with at least 20 to be available for rent.
Executive director Brian Donnelly says the three, four and five-bedroom units will primarily be for low income households with the option of a rent-to-buy programme.
They will be built of traditional materials such as weatherboard and brick but will be modern units with a focus on good design and sustainability, he says.
The dwellings are still in the resource consent process with construction beginning in late 2014.
Vision West Community Trust received $4.9m to build 21 units in New Lynn, Henderson and Kelston valued at $9.8m.
Community housing general manager James Widgery says they get about 50 inquiries for accommodation a month but have only 36 dwellings.
Only five of their units are for short-term let with the remainder for long-term tenants who also receive support from a social worker during their tenancy.
Construction of the units will begin next year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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