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Laying foundation for homes for working families

MEDIA RELEASE

9 November 2005

Laying the foundation for homes for working families

Auckland City has taken the first step in a process to identify partners to provide a number of affordable homes for working families in the city.

The Community Development and Equity Committee today approved a plan which will enable the council to enter into partnerships to provide affordable housing.

Under the plan, the council will seek Expressions of Interest from organisations interested in participating in such a venture.

The committee chairperson, Councillor Cathy Casey, says this first step will enable the council to gauge how much interest there is in forming partnerships.

"This council is committed to implementing a demonstration project which will supply a small number of affordable homes for working families in our city.

"There is currently a lack of affordable housing in Auckland city and this has ramifications for our economy as low income working families find it difficult to live near their place of employment," she says.

"We need to address this issue, but it must be a very careful, considered and robust process.

"We need reliable, respected and experienced partners to work with us on this project and this will allow us to carefully examine what other parties can bring to the table," Dr Casey says.

She says council is not intending to become the sole owner and landlord of an affordable housing development.

The Expressions of Interest document is being prepared, and will provide scope for those interested to partner the council by providing any, or all, of the following:

- finance

- land

- property development and design skills

- tenancy management experience

- asset management expertise.

Dr Casey says the final project team may involve one or more partners and the merits of all proposals will be carefully evaluated.

She says proposals will have to meet certain criteria and any potential development would have to demonstrate:

- financial robustness

- high quality urban design principles

- 'green building' principles

- close proximity to transport and other services.

"Our focus will be on low-income working families who are currently paying unaffordable rents of 30 per cent or more of their income.

"While this is a small scale demonstration project, it's a start. We want to show that it is possible to work in partnership to provide affordable homes, so that low income families are able to live and work in Auckland city without being under extreme financial pressure," Dr Casey says.

The council has committed $1 million in its annual budget to pursue this project, which will allow it to raise a loan of $9 million to fund the development. It is anticipated the loan will take 15 years to pay back.

ENDS

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