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Council to increase social housing under new structure

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Council to increase social housing under new structure

Christchurch City Council’s decision to lease its social housing to a separate entity will secure the service for tenants and grow it into the future, says Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck.

The restructure is part of the Christchurch Housing Accord with the Government, which the Council ratified at its meeting today.

Both the new entity and the Accord are aimed at better addressing the shortage of social housing in Christchurch and implementing the Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme.

“Housing is one of this Council’s top priorities, and we’re committed to making sure community members have access to quality, affordable housing now and in the long-term,” Deputy Mayor Buck says.

“Today’s decision addresses the issue that the Council’s social housing portfolio is no longer financially viable — a problem that’s been significantly compounded by the earthquakes.

“It’s important to highlight that the Council’s social housing has never been subsidised by rates, and there is no intention to start now.

“The new entity is a way to provide a stable and sustainable future for our tenants, while also acting as a catalyst for the provision of new housing units in the city.”

Under the Housing Accord, the Government will work with the non-profit entity to attain the status of a registered community housing provider, to qualify for the Government’s Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS).

The Government has also agreed to invest $75 million through a new Christchurch Housing Accord Fund, and the Council will contribute up to $50 million worth of land and other assets from its social housing portfolio.

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.

Today’s Council decision comes after consideration of significant public feedback on its proposal.

A total of 478 submitters provided comment, with the majority of those supporting the Council holding up to 49 per cent of the shares in a limited-liability entity that leases the Council’s social housing portfolio.

Council staff will now investigate details and options for the entity’s structure, with a view to providing further advice to the Council as soon as possible.

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