A community trust designed to provide affordable pensioner housing is gathering momentum following a call-out from Rotorua Lakes Council for expressions of interest from possible partners.

A council spokeswoman said the process had been undertaken to assess the level of interest from providers and the sorts of models they would propose.

Last December the council agreed to investigate the potential of establishing a trust to manage pensioner housing which it currently managed in-house, she said.

However it was too early to comment on any outcomes.


The investigation work would be presented to elected members for potential inclusion in the draft 2018-28 long-term plan.

In September the Rotorua Daily Post reported the council had 152 pensioner flats in five complexes in Glenholme, Fenton Park, Westbrook and Ngongotaha. But the waiting list was closed at 40 due to demand.

Salvation Army Social Housing national director Greg Foster said it had not expressed an interest as it did not have the staff or resources in Rotorua to take on a project of this size.

But it applauded the council for taking steps to better serve older people in Rotorua.

''There is definitely a need for more housing for the elderly. Elderly people are not immune to the housing crisis and increasingly we're seeing people who have rented all their life, or who face unexpected issues like a relationship break down, redundancy or health issues, who find they can't afford anywhere to live.''

Its staff in Rotorua had seen seniors living in overcrowding situations, he said.

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''They have taken their children and grandchildren back into their homes due to homelessness, affordability of housing or needing to care for their grandchildren due to absent parents.

''Given what we see in other towns it's likely there are also elderly people struggling to afford rents who are attempting to battle through on their own.

''Often they are highly independent people who have not needed help from Government or other organisations before, so they don't know what help is available or they are ashamed to ask.''

Grey Power Rotorua president Russell Hallam said he thought housing was the responsibility of central Government.

''I believe we should be lobbying Government to increase the stock of state houses instead of selling them off. It should be making it easier for the council to provide rental housing where it is relevant and maybe the Government needs to be making provisions to assist developers into low cost, affordable housing projects.''

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association chairwoman Glenys Searancke said the formation of a trust focused on pensioner housing was not a new idea.

She was in favour of the concept and thought the council should provide the land.

''It's a lot of work and a big undertaking but some of our pensioner housing is old stock and if we get the chance to provide affordable, suitable housing we should.''