The celebratory ribbon was cut at the official opening of six new public housing units for Tauranga's homeless today.
About 50 people, including politicians, local community leaders and future residents of the units, turned out for the opening of the two-bedroom units at 878 Cameron Rd, opposite Tauranga Hospital.
The units were officially opened by visiting Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi and local community housing provider, Accessible Properties.
Faafoi and future resident, Raymond Holloway, cut a large blue ribbon in front of a gathered crowd which included Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, Labour List MP Jan Tinetti and new deputy mayor of Tauranga Larry Baldock.
Holloway, who is a former serviceman and is deaf, currently lived in public housing nearby and said he had watched the whole construction process.
He saw the plans around three years ago and jumped at the chance to move in, with his tenancy manager talking with him throughout that period.
He was excited to move into his new home and said it would offer him a "place in the world" and the opportunity to get back into former hobbies.
"It's a new lease on life."
Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi said homelessness was a growing problem in Tauranga with demand for houses exceeding the short supply.
Faafoi said the Government needed the help of iwi, local councils and community organisations to solve the issue and praised the work done by Accessible Properties and transitional housing provider The People's Project.
He said the need extended to more transitional and public housing and making more of these available will support local people into warm, dry and secure housing.
Accessible Properties provides more than 1160 community housing places throughout New Zealand.
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"We need to do more on this problem, which has developed over a long period of time and it will take time to fix," Faafoi said.
He called for New Zealanders to get behind efforts to ensure housing for all homeless New Zealanders.
Last year Housing First launched in Tauranga to house and support up to 100 people and whānau.
Accessible Properties had committed to providing more than 400 new houses in Tauranga.
Accessible Properties chief executive Greg Orchard said it was an initiative to further support regeneration and provide new homes for people in need.
"Housing wellbeing has become an urgent issue for Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty, and Accessible Properties wants to take action, with a housing project that stands for inclusion and choice," Orchard said.
The ambition was to increase new supply by at least 300 homes within 10 years.
Orchard said the aim of the project was to better match supply with demand with a community-wide, multi-faceted approach.