People could be moving into a new emergency housing development in Papamoa before Christmas.

The project at 45 Opal Dr was announced in June to provide a stepping-stone for families looking for permanent housing.

Scott Gallacher, the Ministry of Social Development's deputy chief executive of housing, said the first of the families would move into homes on December 19.

"We are pleased with the progress being made at the Opal Drive development and anticipate eight families will have a new home to stay in before Christmas."


However, he could not confirm how many families had already been selected.

He said an on-site custodian for the complex from Tauranga Community Housing Trust would move in prior to the families and the remaining 10 homes would be ready to be occupied in February.

Gallacher said the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand had undertaken extensive consultation with the community, providing information about the development and answering questions.

"We thank the community for their interest and on-going support. These homes will help many local families in need."

Housing New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development were holding an open home today to provide local residents with an opportunity to have a look at the development and ask questions about how it will operate.

"When there is a high level of interest in developments, we arrange open homes like this as there is a natural curiosity to understand what we've been working on, and we've found it another good way to engage with the community," Gallacher said.

Mount Maunganui/Papamoa Ward councillor Leanne Brown said communication between the Ministry of Social Development and the Papamoa community had improved since the Opal Dr development was announced.

She said the open home was an opportunity for neighbours to see what the development looked like as the families who would be moving into homes at Opal Dr would soon be a part of the community.


Brown said the ministry initially "underestimated the passion" of the local people who did not support the development but communication had now "really stepped up."

She said feedback from the local community had "turned on its head" and a lot more people were behind the project.

Mount Maunganui/Papamoa Ward councillor Steve Morris said many Papamoa locals initially had "fears of what was going on next door to them" so the open home was a way of seeing the quality of the houses and what had been happening.