MEDIA RELEASE, 11 November 2008
Community Housing Aotearoa
Friendship Centre Trust wins Best Practice Award at Community Housing Conference
The West Auckland Friendship Centre Trust was awarded the Best Practice Award for Forward Planning at the Community Housing Aotearoa Conference in Wellington last night.
The Award was presented to Lisa Woolley, CEO of the Friendship Centre Trust by Thérèse Quinlivan, Executive Director of Community Housing Aotearoa, and Paula Comerford of The Property Group.
The two runners-up were the Monte Cecelia Housing Trust, represented by Elaine Lolesio, and the Nelson & Tasman Housing Trust, represented by Keith Preston.
Based at Glen Eden Baptist Church, the Friendship Centre Trust has been providing social services into the community of West Auckland for the past twenty years. About six years ago it became more and more evident that homelessness and housing affordability were having a huge impact in the community. The Trust worked with Housing NZ to start an Emegency Housing service for women and children in Waitakere and an Emergency House was opened in 2004. A key component of the success of the House has been the employment of a Housing Social Worker, said Lisa Woolley.
Since 2004 the Trust has been able to access the Housing Innovation Fund to purchase ten houses for the purpose of providing affordable, long term supported tenancies to low income families in West Auckland. Rents are based on 75% of market rent and all the homes must fit into the Trust's 'healthy home' criteria and are all freshly renovated at the time of purchase.
Community Housing Aotearoa is an umbrella sector group for housing owned and managed by community and iwi-based organisations. On the first day of the conference a national Strategy for the Community Housing Sector was launched which will be consulted on until the end of January 2009. It proposes setting up a venture capital fund for the community housing sector and taking urgent steps to build the reputation and influence of what is often seen to be a neglected sector and a 'poor cousin' to public or state housing.
By contrast the conference heard from three Australian speakers that the non-government community housing sector has been gaining much greater recognition as a credible and value adding alternative to traditional public housing in Australia.
The conference finishes today (Tuesday 11 November) with a presentation on the future of Community Housing by Scott Figenshow of the Queensland Lakes District Council, and a presentation on public and private partnerships from Tricia Austin a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland's School of Architecture and Planning.