Sallies in talks over pensioner housing

By Aaron van Delden -
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Whanganui District Council pensioner Housing at Walter Nash Place.
Whanganui District Council pensioner Housing at Walter Nash Place.

Salvation Army representatives hope to meet with Whanganui District Council staff to discuss a proposed joint venture for pensioner housing.

If it goes ahead, Whanganui will become the first regional city in New Zealand to implement such a scheme.

A similar arrangement is already in place in Wellington and Salvation Army Major Glenn Anderson said it had been working well.

The joint venture in Wellington enables the Salvation Army to rent a proportion of the city council's pensioner housing stock at a reduced rate and then administer and sublet those properties under its own conditions.

This allowed some wriggle room in terms of eligibility for the housing and rents, Mr Anderson said.

A meeting with the council is due to be held before the end of the year.

The Government has indicated pensioner housing should not be the domain of local government, and - as part of its 10-year plan for 2015-25 - Whanganui District Council decided other non-profit community groups would be better placed to manage its 275 pensioner flats.

The fate of the flats has been raised as an issue in the current council elections.
Some candidates have insisted they should remain solely in council hands, while others want the age of eligibility reduced to help fill them and keep them financially self-sufficient.

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