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Developer diverting millions to City Mission

Millions of dollars from the capital's brand new premium homes will be diverted to the city's most vulnerable folk thanks to a new social impact-focused relationship between property developers The Wellington Company and the Wellington City Mission.

The innovative scheme is the latest in a series of housing impact initiatives rolled out by longtime Wellingtonian businessman and managing director of The Wellington Company, Ian Cassels.

Under the scheme, ten thousand dollars of each high end home developed and sold by The Wellington Company will go directly to the Wellington City Mission. Houses and apartments sold over $800,000 would generate the donation.

Cassels says the idea came to him after observing that, despite rising house prices and a seemingly-insatiable demand from the market for high-end housing supply, the trickle down effect of that wealth was comparatively 'almost non-existent.'

"The Wellington property market is still hot at the top end, and that's a testament to how attractive a proposition it is to live in this city.'

'At the same time, it's undeniable that Wellington still has pockets of very visible social issues such as chronic homelessness, alcoholism, child poverty. It's a pretty grim paradox.'

He says organisations like the City Mission were doing 'excellent work' in this area, but relying on traditional modes of funding was not enough.

"We started out looking at how fast homes were selling across New Zealand and imagining what would happen if a dollar from each house sold went to a good cause."

The one dollar quickly became a hundred dollars, before Cassels decided to 'go the full hog' and commit ten thousand dollars per home.

TWC houses at Erskine College, Shelly Bay and new inner city apartments would be part of the scheme, and houses sold at these alone could contribute significantly to the City Mission.

"The idea is that you can't wait for impact to 'trickle' in - you've got to make a deliberate decision to turn that tap on."

Wellington City Missioner Murray Edridge says he is delighted and encouraged by the generous support of Mr Cassels and The Wellington Company.

“This innovative scheme will assist the City Mission in its work with over 500 of Wellington’s most vulnerable people, whose lives we impact every day. These people are the face of poverty in Wellington and this support will make a significant contribution to our ability to provide supported housing solutions and the provision of food security for individuals and for families”.

Edridge says that the scheme is an example of how the developer and the buyer can be part of a wider social solution.

Cassels says the scheme is effective immediate.

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