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Christchurch Housing Accord Announced

Wednesday 16 April 2014
Christchurch Housing Accord Announced

The acute shortage of affordable housing in Christchurch will only be solved by the Christchurch City Council and the Government working together, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says.

The Mayor and the Minister of Housing Dr Nick Smith today signed a Housing Accord to increase the number of affordable houses in the city, including social housing.

The Accord is subject to ratification by full Council based on the outcome of consultation with residents on the Council’s role in providing affordable housing.

Under the proposed Accord, the Government will invest $75 million through a new Christchurch Housing Accord Fund, and the Council $50 million in a new housing entity which will act as a catalyst by encouraging private investment in housing developments.

The Accord also establishes a Joint Housing Steering Group that will report monthly on progress of the residential building in Christchurch and any areas of concern arising from the implementation of the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP) or the impact of the regulatory environment on development.

The Government plans to develop two villages totalling 180 homes on Council-owned land in Colombo Street (the former Sydenham School site) and Welles Street.

The proposal is for the Council to sell the land at fair market value and for the Crown to defer payment.

“The earthquakes have created a huge housing shortage in the city. As a result many residents are living in dire circumstances, forced to pay unrealistically high rentals for accommodation, some of which is substandard,” Lianne Dalziel says.

“Housing is one of this Council’s top priorities. From our perspective, it is not acceptable to have families living in garages because that is their only option. The Accord is a very significant in that it acknowledges the seriousness of the current housing shortage in the city and proposes a way forward.”

Lianne Dalziel says it is important that the developments “build communities, not just houses.”

The proposed new housing entity will secure the sustainability of the Council’s involvement in social housing, Lianne Dalziel says. “The new entity will have the status of a registered community housing provider and have access to the Government’s income-related rent subsidy for eligible tenants. Most of our tenants will be better off.”

“This Council has a proud record in social housing dating back to 1936 and we want to ensure that our most vulnerable community members continue to have access to affordable housing.”

The Council also needs to decide whether or not to formally request Christchurch City Holdings (CCHL) provide $50 million over three years for the investment in the new housing entity.

“We have been working on the proposed Accord since late last year. Today’s signing of the Accord definitely represents progress,” Lianne Dalziel says. “ We look forward to receiving the views of our community during the upcoming consultation.”

ENDS

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