Work starts on new community homes

DIGGING IT: Nelson MP Nick Smith breaks the ground at the new Nelson Tasman Housing Trust homes in Kawai Street South.
DIGGING IT: Nelson MP Nick Smith breaks the ground at the new Nelson Tasman Housing Trust homes in Kawai Street South.

Housing Minister Nick Smith hopped into a digger this morning to begin work on the site where three new Nelson community houses will be built.

The ceremony was held in conjunction with this week's Community Housing Aotearoa conference in Nelson which will focus on the provision of social and affordable housing.

The Nelson Tasman Housing Trust is building three new homes on a site in Kawai Street South which was formerly home to a state house that burned down.

FLOODED: The community housing site was flooded during last week’s downpour but backers say a new storm drain will reduce future problems.
FLOODED: The community housing site was flooded during last week’s downpour but backers say a new storm drain will reduce future problems.

The trust paid Housing New Zealand $125,000 for the land, and the project received half its funding from the Government's Social Housing fund.

Smith was invited to dig up the first scoop of land, and took visible delight in the task.

Smith said the project had received funding of $325,000 from the Social Housing fund.

"This project pulls together different strains of the Government's housing reforms, firstly around intensification . . . secondly, the partnering with community organisations - in this case the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust, and thirdly, this being a former state house site is the face of the future of social housing."

Nelson Tasman Housing Trust director Keith Preston said rent was likely to be around $260 for the two bedroom houses, and $300 for the three bedroom house, which was 80 per cent of the market rate.

"There will be plenty of demand for it, it's a popular area surrounded by schools," he said.

The Kawai Street South site was hit hard by last week's flooding, but Preston said there would be a storm drain installed across the corner of the section to ensure the property would not be damaged in future events. The houses were expected to be completed by February.

The Nelson Mail