City Mission to benefit from capital's strong property market
Millions of dollars from the Wellington property market could be diverted to assist the capitals's most vulnerable residents.
The Wellington Company, directed by developer Ian Cassels, has pledged to donate $10,000 to the Wellington City Mission every time it sells a house or apartment for more than $800,000.
Cassels said the property market in Wellington was strong and it was "entirely appropriate" that those who had fallen on hard times should see some benefit from the situation.
More people in New Zealand were slipping through the cracks, he said, and those people and the people supporting them needed all the help they could get.
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He had been impressed by the work of the City Mission.
"People like that need instant support. It's a hard job and not everyone does it well. They do it extremely well."
He did not know how much money the scheme might raise but he said The Wellington Company was dealing with an increasing number of high-end properties.
Developments like Erskine College and Shelley Bay - if it were to get underway - would contribute to the scheme
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures show 1201 properties in Wellington City were sold for $800,000 or more in 2018.
Cassels hoped other developers or businesses might do more to give back to the city.
Wellington City Missioner Murray Edridge was pleased with The Wellington Company's assistance.
"[Cassels] obviously knows what's going on at the top end of the property market but he can see what it's like for the people at the bottom end and I'm delighted he's decided to support us."
The extra money would enable the Mission to deliver more of its core services such as helping individuals and families into housing and providing food security.
Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford said Cassels' pledge was the perfect example of a business giving back.
With a number of the company's development projects under way the mission could "expect to benefit greatly into the future".
The city was lucky to have developers like Cassels and Mark Dunajtschik - who gifted $50 million towards Wellington's children's hospital - who had a social conscience, Milford said.
City Mission takes on homelessness in the Hutt
The Wellington City Mission is expanding the fight against homelessness in the Hutt Valley with a new transitional housing facility at Petone's Britannia House.
The former rest home and Te Omanga Hospice base was bought by the Hutt City Council's housing company Urban Plus and leased to the Mission which opened the facility on Monday.
City Missioner Murray Edridge said the mission had moved in six weeks ago and it was "a miracle" to have it open in such a short amount of time.
"The people on the streets are at the sharp end of homelessness. [With this facility] we can change the whole community response."
As well as offering shelter and food to men and women Edridge said the 18-bedroom facility would offer "wrap around services" where clients could be connected with financial assistance, and physical and mental health providers.
"It's a pathway to improve their living circumstances."
The mission has already has a presence in the area - during the 2017/18 year 57 per cent of the 144 families supported by the Mission for Families support workers came from the Hutt Valley.
The mission runs a smaller transitional housing operation in Porirua.
Britannia House is being run in partnership with the Ministry for Housing and Urban Development which will fund the facility and services.
The ministry funds 28,000 transitional houses around the country. The 2019 budget provided $283 million for the transitional housing programme over four years.
Ministry deputy chief executive Scott Gallacher said the programme addressed homelessness by allowing people to identify their long-term housing options.