Government housing agency Kainga Ora has announced plans for its biggest Napier residential development in many years with 24 homes to be built in a single project over the next two years.
The homes, ranging from one to four bedrooms will be built on a section off Seddon Cr, Marewa, backing onto a green belt across the road from Napier Boys' High School.
They will replace a smaller number of units already on the site, and agency regional director East Coast North Island Naomi Whitewood said that with resource consent recently granted by the Napier City Council work is expected to start later this year and be completed "from" early 2023.
"There is an urgent need for more housing in Napier, and we have an ambitious build programme underway to deliver more homes at scale and pace," she said.
Kainga Ora has delivered over 70 newly built homes in Napier since 2018, including several in the Maraenui area which was the hardest hit part of Napier in the demolition and removal of state housing homes and units in the earlier stages of the last decade.
A block of 9 homes has recently been completed in Bledisloe Rd, and other projects are well advanced in Percy Spiller Ave and Kelvin Rd-Kelvin Pl, with a combined total of 27 new homes.
Whitewood said that under the Government's public housing plan, 250 homes are expected to be delivered in Napier by 2024, in addition to other housing aspirations that will "come to life" by Iwi, hapu, community providers and private developers.
Along with about 220 that have been built or are being built in Hastings and Flaxmere – including 40 around Kauri St and Kauri Pl, Mahora, 44 in Oliphant Rd, Campbell St, Bledisloe Rd and Bledisloe Pl, Raureka - they are part of more than 18,000 extra public housing places expected to be delivered nationwide by 2024.
The Seddon Cr development, mainly two-storeyed buildings, will provide homes suitable for individuals, couples and small families, along with bigger families in the larger homes, Whitewood said.
"This will be a fantastic development, in a great location with good access to local amenity and also a large green space behind the development," she said.
Kainga Ora is working with tenants still in the existing homes on the site to find a new home that best meets their needs.
"To make the best use of our land holdings and deliver more quality homes, we may need to demolish old homes that are past their best, to make way for a larger number of new warm, dry and healthy homes in sizes that better meet the needs of the community today," Whitewood said.
Older state homes tended to be two and three-bedroom homes designed to meet the need at the time they were built, but modern times mean the need is generally for a mix of sizes.
She said Kainga Ora recognised the rehousing can be unsettling for tenants, so the agency has worked with residents as early as possible, on a one-to-one basis.
"Our aim is to rehouse our tenants as close to their preferred areas choice, including within their current community," she said.
Some people and families request to move to new locations and are helped in finding homes that suit their requirements, such as being nearer family, she said, adding:
"Depending on their needs and situation, there may be an opportunity to move into one of the newly built homes once they are completed."
Napier City Councillor Maxine Boag, who holds the housing portfolio, said she is "really happy" about the development.
"People are waiting for these kinds of developments to occur and it's just a very positive progress towards housing particularly those who are currently homeless or in motels.
"I think there's a lot of people that are currently in the motels without adequate housing who come from that area, Marewa, Maraenui, so it's lovely to have this multiple development in that part of the city."
In response to the number of homes that had been delivered in Napier since 2018, she said "it's a start".
"I think they're going as fast as they can really."
As well as the Kainga Ora development, Boag added that developments that will come out of the Ahuriri Hapū Claims Settlement Bill "will make a difference to how we are dealing with the housing crisis".