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Horowhenua social housing supply 'could increase by nearly a quarter'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Providing consent is granted, Horowhenua is set to get a 52 unit social housing development, which will be home to those individuals and families on the Social Housing Register.

With 209 applicants on the Social Housing Register and 233 Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants approved in the Horowhenua District as of June 2021 according to the latest report from the Ministry of Social Development, the need for social housing in the district is a compelling one.

The new homes would be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units, complemented by a community hall and offices, communal outdoor areas, and onsite car parking. Set to increase the district’s public housing supply from 172 tenancies to 224, the proposed development at 29A Hinemoa Street would provide a much-needed injection of affordable housing in the district.

The social housing proposal has been a couple of years in the making and is the result of a Council facilitated, but community-led discussion on housing in the district.

In 2019, acknowledging that housing supply in the district was not keeping up with demand, Council brought together local iwi, hapū, Pasifika groups, developers, builders, central government, council officers, youth representatives and other non-governmental agencies. Together, attendees spoke about the housing challenges facing our district.

From these hui a Housing Action Plan was developed to drive immediate grass-root actions and local solutions to meet our community’s diverse housing needs now and into the future. One workstream of the Housing Action Plan was the facilitation of Social Community Housing.

While there have been many challenges, the combined proposal between The Salvation Army and Wayne Bishop Group is the first to reach the application stage, with the support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD).

The Salvation Army (an existing social housing provider) will manage the units once they have been constructed. The organisation currently manages approximately 460 units - 25 villages across New Zealand. The villages have a reputation for being well managed and maintained.

The proposed development will include a small community centre for tenants which will be staffed by the Salvation Army. Staff provide access to wrap-around support services for residents in the village, such as connecting residents with social support services and assistance with budgeting, food, health, and whānau support.

Salvation Army National Social Housing Director Greg Foster says "Providing the proposal is approved, we look forward to replicating in Levin what we have done in other parts of New Zealand, where we focus on providing good quality houses, in a community setting. The Levin development will offer much-needed housing for those currently finding it tough to find a home in an otherwise tight housing market in Levin".

The Salvation Army seeks referrals for tenants from within the Salvation Army social services and churches, as well as partner agencies, such as the MHUD, to provide housing for those most in need.

If consent is granted for the proposal, construction is due to commence in early 2022.

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