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Accord to address Christchurch housing

Accord to address Christchurch housing


A Christchurch Housing Accord has been agreed between Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Mayor Lianne Dalziel to help address housing issues in the city.

“This Accord will improve the supply and affordability of housing in Christchurch. The Government will invest $75 million through a new Christchurch Housing Accord Fund, and the Council $50 million in a new housing entity. The Accord will also facilitate an increase in affordable housing by encouraging private investment and improving the regulatory environment. The Accord was approved by Cabinet on Monday but is subject to Council‘s consultation process and ratification,” Dr Smith says.

“Two villages totalling 180 homes will be developed by Government on council-owned land in Colombo Street and Welles Street. These will expand the homes available for temporary accommodation while families’ homes are rebuilt and will be sold as affordable homes on the open market when this demand subsides.”

The Government Fund will also be used to facilitate the construction of other affordable homes, like the 270 proposed on the Awatea block at Carrs Road.

“The two inner-city developments address my particular concerns about the availability of temporary accommodation for families displaced from their homes during earthquake repairs. The register for access to the existing 120 houses in the four current villages has doubled to 400 as the pace of the recovery has increased and the shift to more complex home repairs that require families to vacate for a longer period. This additional temporary accommodation assists the wider housing market by reducing the upward pressure on rents from these short-term tenancies. These developments will also revitalise the central city by re-establishing a residential population,” Dr Smith says.

“I welcome the Council’s proposal to invest $50 million in a new housing entity and will work with Council to enable this to become a registered community housing provider. It also makes sense for the Council to consider transferring its existing social housing to this new entity. This will improve their financial sustainability by having access to the Government’s income-related rent subsidy for eligible tenants. This is an opportunity for an innovative approach to housing in Christchurch that will assist the recovery and provide better social and affordable housing for the city into the future.

“The Government and the Council will also be working closely together on facilitating new private sector residential investment and particularly in encouraging more affordable housing. The Accord provides for joint action on minimising barriers to development, exploring a one-stop shop for consenting and close monitoring and, where appropriate, amending of the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP) to address any impediments to additional affordable housing.

“The housing problem in Christchurch is huge with so many homes munted by the earthquakes, many more requiring such major repairs that residents need temporary accommodation and the additional housing required for the rebuild workforce. The Government’s housing response to date has included the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Services (CETAS); the construction of four temporary accommodation villages; the provision of $38.5 million in temporary accommodation assistance to over 2400 households; partnering with the private sector to increase worker accommodation; and the partnership with the Canterbury Community Trust to increase community social housing. These initiatives are on top of the massive work programme to repair private homes and the $1.2 billion investment programme by Housing New Zealand to repair and redevelop its 5000 homes and build 700 new ones.

“This Housing Accord with the new Mayor Lianne Dalziel is another important step forward for Christchurch. The Accord will ensure a more coordinated approach between Council and Government, ease the tight pressure on the housing market and bring forward the date of Christchurch’s full housing recovery.”

Ends

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