130 new units for suburbs
Five Christchurch suburbs will get new social homes after the city council approved a $30 million housing trust loan.
O¯ tautahi Community Housing Trust will use the money to build 130 social houses and replace 50 existing council units.
The first 60 new homes are likely to be ready in 2021. The 130 houses will be built in Spreydon, Papanui, Richmond, Opawa and Sydenham.
The council made provision for the $30m loan in the 2018-28 long-term plan earlier this year, but did not decide on the recipient at the time. At yesterday’s council meeting, it confirmed the money would go to the trust, which the council created in 2016 to manage the day-to-day running of its 2400 social housing units.
Ratepayers will not incur any costs regarding the loan because the trust will cover all costs.
As a new organisation with a limited balance sheet, the trust was not in a position to borrow enough money to meet the upfront costs of the development, a council report said.
Cr Anne Galloway said the council should provide social housing because the city would benefit but the 130 homes would not meet the council’s goal of an additional 500 social housing units over 10 years.
Council facilities, property and planning head Bruce Rendall said last month the loan was the first step in increasing its number of social housing units.
Cr Yani Johanson called on the Government for help, saying it had put money into other cities, but the Christchurch council had received ‘‘nothing’’. Johanson also wanted to conditions in the loan document to control the density of the developments.
Cr Glenn Livingstone said the number of homeless would increase without social housing.
The council set up the trust so it could access extra revenue through the Government’s Income-Related Rent Subsidy. As part of the agreement, the council decided to capitalise the trust with $50m of social housing assets. It is transferring ownership of 350 units to the trust, including the site of the former Brougham Village on Brougham St. The transfer of $29m worth of land and buildings will be completed by the end of this year.