Free housing advice offered
A businesswoman trying to tackle Christchurch's housing problems opened a volunteer advice centre less than two weeks ago and has already received 20 calls for help.
Sue Robinson founded The Canterbury Affordable Housing Trust to mitigate the city's housing shortage and despite a lack of funding has opened a free advice centre for desperate residents.
Her ambitious proposal to subsidise housing by headleasing properties under the trust, renting them out at pre-earthquake affordable levels and off-setting the cost was delivered to the Government earlier this month.
She was still awaiting a response and a request to meet with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was denied, she said.
However, her community-focused housing initiative was supported by city councillors and Labour's Earthquake Recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel.
Although Robinson has received no funding for her project, she has launched a housing advice centre and is compiling a register to try and ''understand the needs in the community''.
She is calling for Christchurch tenants and landlords to register with the trust and said she received more than 20 calls last week.
''Nobody knows the size of the problem here. The community needs to tell us what the community needs.''
The register would help landlords find tenants and tenants find houses, but would more importantly provide some statistics to the Government, she said.
She had originally hoped to open a walk-in advice centre for clients but with a lack of funding decided to offer a call centre in the interim.
''Time is of the essence. We are in the second winter and we know people are struggling. We are here to help, but first we need to know people's needs and where they are.''
The trust would come to aid of desperate tenants who had been pushed out of the inflating rental market but would also offer red-zoned homeowners independent insurance advice, she said.
Those needing any type of housing assistance can email the trust at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 318 1355.
- © Fairfax NZ News