New houses for Horowhenua
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.