Affordable homes on the way for Bay

By Sonya Bateson


A $1.7 million Government grant will provide more affordable housing for some of Tauranga's most vulnerable people.

The grant has been made to Tauranga Community Housing Trust and will be used to build new units and modify existing ones to make them suitable for people with restricted mobility.

Trust manager Chris Johnstone said eight units on an existing Clarke St site would be relocated to another site, yet to be found, then 14 new units would be built in their place. At least 50 per cent of the homes will be wheelchair accessible.

"The work will probably begin in the next six months, although we're not sure exactly when they will be ready. We're hoping they'll be ready by last next year."

Ms Johnstone said the last time the organisation had received a Government grant was five years ago, although not as large as this year's grant.

"It's fantastic. It's a lot of money but when you're doing construction work you need to raise a lot of money. There is a lack of appropriate rental housing, particularly at the lower end of the market, a poor supply of accessible housing, a general shortage of social housing in the Tauranga area and high demand for HNZC housing."

Ms Johnstone said people in line for the new units would be single people or people from small households who could live in the village compatibly and help create a supportive village atmosphere. It was likely some would have a disability.

The tenants will pay a "social rent" of about 80 per cent of market cost, she said.

Supporters of Tauranga Community Housing Trust include Police Charity Auction, TECT, Bay Trust and Tauranga City Council.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said the $1.7 million grant to the trust was one of six community social housing sector grants throughout the country totalling $16.4 million.

He said the grants complimented the legislation announced in the budget enabling community social housing providers to receive the same funding as Housing New Zealand to provide tenants with acute housing needs access to income related rents.

Other organisations to receive funding were Accessible Properties New Zealand Limited, Airedale Property Trust, Habitat for Humanity, Whangarei Accessible Housing Trust and one other South Island provider to be named pending consultation.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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