Horowhenua is setting steps to increase its social housing units by no less than 52 new one, two, and three bedroom units for people currently on the Social Housing Register, to be built at 29A Hinemoa St in Levin, and to be managed by the Salvation Army.
If council grants consent for this project building could start in early 2022.
The district currently has 209 applicants on the Social Housing Register and in the past year 233 Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants had been approved according to the latest report from the Ministry of Social Development, a council press statement said.
The new social housing complex will also have a community hall and offices, communal outdoor areas, and on-site car parking.
This development will bring the district's public housing supply from 172 tenancies to 224.
In 2019, acknowledging that housing supply in the district was not keeping up with demand, Horowhenua District Council brought together local iwi, hapū, Pasifika groups, developers, builders, central government, council officers, youth representatives and other non-governmental agencies to hear more about the housing challenges facing our district, the council statement said.
"From these hui a Housing Action Plan was developed to drive immediate grass-root actions and local solutions to meet the local community's diverse housing needs now and into the future. One workstream of the Housing Action Plan was the facilitation of Social Community Housing.
"While there have been many challenges, the combined proposal between the Salvation Army and Wayne Bishop Group is the first to reach the application stage, with the support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD).
"The Salvation Army [an existing social housing provider] will manage the units once they have been constructed. The organisation currently manages approximately 460 units - 25 villages across New Zealand. The villages have a reputation for being well managed and maintained, a district council press release said.
"The proposed development will include a small community centre for tenants which will be staffed by the Salvation Army. Staff provide access to wrap-around support services for residents in the village, such as connecting residents with social support services and assistance with budgeting, food, health, and whānau support."
Salvation Army National Social Housing director Greg Foster said, "Providing the proposal is approved, we look forward to replicating in Levin what we have done in other parts of New Zealand, where we focus on providing good quality houses, in a community setting.
"The Levin development will offer much-needed housing for those currently finding it tough to find a home in an otherwise tight housing market in Levin."
The Salvation Army seeks referrals for tenants from within the Salvation Army social services and churches, as well as partner agencies, such as the MHUD, to provide housing for those most in need.
If consent is granted for the proposal by the district council, construction is due to commence in early 2022.
* The processing of the resource consent application has been outsourced to a consultant planner to address any perceived conflict of interest given that the Wayne Bishop Group is the landowner and applicant and Wayne Bishop is an elected member of Horowhenua District Council.
* The consultant processing the application will make a call on whether they think the application should be either limited or publicly notified. If the application is notified then an independent commissioner will hear any submissions received and will decide on the application.