New houses for Horowhenua

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

Horowhenua will get up to 30 new houses over the next four years un­der the Gov­ern­ment’s pub­lic hous­ing plan.

The 30 new homes are part of 1000 to be built around the coun­try un­der the scheme, which aims to pro­vide more than 6400 new pub­lic homes in New Zealand by 2022.

The Gov­ern­ment will part­ner with com­mu­nity hous­ing providers to build the homes, and a lo­cal coun­cil­lor says he’s pleased it has recog­nised Horowhenua needs them.

Barry Judd, who is also chair­man of the Horowhenua District Coun­cil’s well­be­ing com­mit­tee, said the district has a short­age of af­ford­able, healthy homes.

He said the com­mit­tee had been work­ing to en­sure the needs of Horowhenua’s com­mu­ni­ties were known to the Gov­ern­ment.

“Sadly, our lev­els of de­pri­va­tion are up there with North­land and the East Coast — there is a sig­nif­i­cant need for more homes,” he said.

A coun­cil me­dia re­lease said Horowhenua was grow­ing faster than in­de­pen­dent eco­nomic an­a­lysts pre­dict and re­quired a min­i­mum of 244 new homes to be built ev­ery year for the next 20 years to meet de­mand.

More than a quar­ter of the district’s res­i­dents are aged over 65, and find­ing suit­able and af­ford­able hous­ing is an is­sue for some — com­pounded by pop­u­la­tion growth and ris­ing house prices. Mr Judd said about two-thirds of the new builds would be one-bed­room homes, ideal for the el­derly, and that they would be a “wel­come ad­di­tion to the mar­ket”.

Next month the coun­cil is due to re­lease its growth strat­egy, and says it is cre­at­ing a master plan for a 2000 home Glad­stone Green devel­op­ment to the east of Levin and an­other large devel­op­ment in Fox­ton Beach that will soon be an­nounced and will re­lieve hous­ing pres­sure in the district.

“While the new pub­lic homes won’t be a com­plete so­lu­tion, they will be a very wel­come ad­di­tion to the hous­ing stock for the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of our com­mu­nity,” said Mr Judd.

“Ev­ery­one in Horowhenua should have a safe home to live in, and these homes will be an im­por­tant part of im­prov­ing the well­be­ing of our peo­ple.”

The coun­cil used to own the district’s com­mu­nity hous­ing stock it­self, but sold it off to a com­mu­nity hous­ing provider backed by a large Welling­ton prop­erty devel­oper last year, draw­ing op­po­si­tion from some com­mu­nity groups and the mayor.

One hun­dred and fif­teen units and about five hectares of land were sold for $5.5 mil­lion, in­clud­ing $250,000 for a main­te­nance fund, to Com­pas­sion Horowhenua LP, a newly formed com­pany equally owned by The Sis­ters of Com­pas­sion — a Catholic char­ity, and Wil­lis Bond, a Welling­ton prop­erty devel­op­ment com­pany with a mas­sive port­fo­lio.

At the time the coun­cil con­firmed the book value of the hous­ing and land to be $7.191m, and said the av­er­age age of the port­fo­lio was 39.7 years. A pend­ing re­newals con­sid­er­a­tion of 50 to 60 per cent re­place­ment in the next 20 to 25 years was pro­jected to cost around $4.3m.

Up to 30 new houses are to be built in Horowhenua un­der a gov­ern­ment scheme.

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