$10m fund for affordable homes

LOIS WATSON
Last updated 14:51 22/02/2013

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A government agency set up to provide social and affordable housing in Christchurch is getting a $10 million funding injection from The Canterbury Community Trust (TCCT).

To mark the second anniversary of the February 2011 quake the trust announced it was dipping into its capital reserves so it could make $25m available through a one-off fund to assist in Canterbury's post-earthquake recovery.

"The devastating earthquakes of the last two years have torn apart not only buildings and infrastructure, but so much of our community's spirit. With this fund we hope to knit together the various threads that make Canterbury so unique," trust  chairman Alec Neill said.

The largest allocation from the fund - $10m - will go to the Social Housing Unit and will be used to address the shortfall in affordable housing.

Social Housing Unit director Michael Pead said the trust's $10m, when combined with $21m from the Government's Social Housing Fund, would allow for an appropriate response to delivering the social housing infrastructure vital to Canterbury's recovery.

Some $2m will go towards partnering with Ngai Tahu to develop community programmes while $6m will be used to establish a new contestable Rebuild Community Fabric Fund to support cultural, social, scientific, environmental and economic activity in the community.

"We want to be able to assist organisations within Canterbury working on projects that will make a true difference to a community or communities in our areas," Neill said.

"Organisations or individuals can approach us with ideas which will assist the development and creation of jobs. Alternatively, we're open to proposals around social, cultural and scientific concepts which will enhance the reputation of the northern half of the South Island as an idyllic place to live and visit."

Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Sir Mark Solomon said the partnership between TCCT and Ngai Tahu would be about delivering intergenerational outcomes.

"In the eastern suburbs we see an opportunity for projects that will uplift and strengthen the community and bring about greater stability for whanau who have had their resources depleted," Solomon said.

TCCT is also making $1.9m available through an event development fund. Money from the fund will be used to underwrite significant events or support local community or cultural programmes that would struggle to get going otherwise.

"The events will need to demonstrate economic and community benefits. We will look at supporting initiatives that provide a 'feel good' factor for the city and for people who have done it hard over the past two years," Neill said.

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Local event organiser and New Zealand Association of Event Professionals board manager Jo Blair yesterday welcomed news of the fund.

"During the past two years event managers have done an outstanding job, continuing to deliver Christchurch's best-loved events against the odds. To now have a new fund that will not only enable ideas from new quarters to be realised, but also assist established event managers to grow much-loved events or opportunities is fantastic and could not have come at a better time."

A $5.1m regional fund is also being made available for projects in TCCT's other regions; Nelson, Marlborough and the Chatham Islands.

Neill said the release of the $25m would not affect the trust's usual activities and it expected to distribute a further $18m in the 2013/14 financial year.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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