Hamilton mayor's housing hopes
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker yesterday vowed to improve the city's lack of social housing while handing over a block of flats to charity.
Ms Hardaker made the comments while formally handing over the Johnson St flats to the Crosslight Trust and Habitat for Humanity, who have plans to redevelop them.
Waikato Bishop David Moxon blessed the flats, behind West Hamilton Anglican Parish in Dinsdale, after a series of speeches in the church yesterday.
Ms Hardaker said the council and Habitat for Humanity had a strong relationship.
"The council was unanimous in its decision to support the sale of Johnson St to Habitat for Humanity and the Crosslight Trust.
"It represented a partnership in the way things could be done.
"The role those two organisations have made it a no-brainer, you've done a great job over many years."
But Ms Hardaker was critical of the status quo regarding social housing in New Zealand.
"There are real opportunities to do this better in this city.
"I want to get the best outcome for this city. I think we need more social housing in this city.
"We must always help those less fortunate than ourselves."
Diana Brown, chair of the Crosslight Trust, said the build had been a "journey of faith, hope and love".
"Some years ago we had a dream that some day we might purchase the Johnson St flats.
"We could see the potential for their development for assisted or supported living. It all fits very well with our ministry of love to the community around us."
Crosslight Trust manager Chris Wright said it would be a place where people were cared for, and programmes were available.
Nic Greene, manager of Hamilton's Habitat for Humanity, said the homes would be of huge benefit to the city.
"Council selling raised up an enormous amount of support for elderly people who need our help.
"As we come together there's an enormous amount we can do.
"We want a world where everyone has a decent place to live."
The blessing was one of Bishop Moxon's last duties before he heads to Rome to start his role as the worldwide Anglican Communion's chief representative to the Catholic Church.