New trust to take over running of Christchurch City Council housing
A new charitable trust has been set up to run the Christchurch City Council's social housing service.
It is intended the Otautahi Community Housing Trust (OCHT) will assume responsibility for the day-to-day running of the service, including managing tenancies and setting rents, in the second half of this year, although that has yet to be finalised.
Under the proposed arrangement, the Christchurch City Council would retain ownership of the housing stock – about 2270 units – but lease them to the trust, which intended to register as a Community Housing Provider (CHP) with the Government.
CHP registration would allow the trust to enter into a contract with the Ministry of Social Development to house people from its waiting-list and receive the associated Income-Related Rent Subsidy.
Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck said the new trust would play a key role in financially securing the council's social housing service.
"With access to funding and subsidies not available to the council, the trust would help to ensure a stable future for tenants while acting as a catalyst for the building of new housing units in the city," said Buck, who was one of three council-appointed trustees on the OCHT.
The other four trustees were Alex Skinner, Pam Sharpe, Lloyd Mander and Stephen Phillips.
"Our social housing has never been subsidised by rates, and that will remain the case," Buck said.
"As a charitable trust, any surplus money would be reinvested back into social housing, to improve the service provided to tenants and the wider community."
Trust chairman Alex Skinner said he was thrilled to be part of an initiative to improve social housing in Christchurch.
"The new structure means we would be working hand-in-hand with other housing providers and social agencies to strengthen the services currently provided to those in our city who need affordable housing the most," he said.