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New social housing units open in Spreydon

New social housing units open in Spreydon

Christchurch City Council’s opening of 12 new social housing units in Spreydon — the first since the Canterbury earthquakes — marks a significant milestone in the city’s rebuild, says Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

The Mayor was joined by new tenant Alfred Roberts, who is moving from another Council social housing complex, in officially opening the new units at the Maurice Carter Courts complex in Dundee Place today.

“These first new units represent a better approach to providing good-quality, affordable housing to our city’s most vulnerable residents,” Mayor Dalziel says.

“The Council is setting a new standard for its social housing by building units that are warm, accessible and energy-efficient — the types of places that tenants will want to live in for many years to come."

The new units were built by Christchurch construction company Fusion Homes Limited and are the first of the Council’s to achieve a Lifemark “5 Star” accreditation. This accreditation shows the units meet certain design and accessibility standards that ensure older people and those with disabilities can continue to live there as their needs change. The Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lifemark that proves its commitment to building adaptable, accessible and healthy social housing units.

Fusion Homes Director Chris Haughey says, "Fusion Homes has enjoyed working in partnership with a dedicated team from the Council, who are focused on a quality rebuild programme for the replacement of their damaged housing stock. The Council’s choice of innovative design and building methods has set a new standard for residential construction."

The Council has partnered with Accessible Properties, which will lease two of the 12 units and make them available to their tenants with specialised mobility requirements.

Accessible Properties General Manager Andrew Wilson says the organisation is delighted to enter into this new partnership arrangement with the Council. “We are a community housing provider that specialises in providing affordable rental housing for people with disabilities or mobility difficulties. The two units we will use are ideal for the purpose as they are fully accessible for wheelchairs.”

Mayor Dalziel says, “We’ve always had good relationships with social housing agencies in the city and we’re excited about working with Accessible Properties for the benefit of residents living in this social housing complex.”

The Council has plans under way to build more new social housing units across Christchurch. Construction is due to begin later this year on eight new units at its Knightsbridge Lane complex in Aranui, and an estimated 41 new units are scheduled for development next year in Mairehau, Charleston, Addington, Richmond and St Albans.

Today’s opening comes after the Council yesterday agreed to begin a consultation process about its future involvement in social housing on 21 May.

The Council is currently re-evaluating its role in providing a social housing service, considering options that would allow it greater flexibility in the future ownership, management and development of its social housing portfolio.

The Council’s preferred options are aimed at ensuring the financial sustainability of the portfolio, while also acting as a catalyst for the provision of additional social and affordable housing units in the city.

Public consultation on the Council’s proposals opens on 21 May, 2014, and will close at 5pm on 26 June, 2014.

Submissions can be made through the Council’s website (www.ccc.govt.nz/HaveYourSay), or in writing to the Council, after the consultation opens.

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