Member Profile: Accessible Properties

Aug 26, 2014 | Member profiles

Accessible Properties is a growing community housing organisation. General Manager Andrew Wilson shared with us some of its achievements and initiatives together with the organisational infrastructure strengths it possesses, which enable it to steer a clear course through what Andrew terms “exciting and challenging times – we are looking forward to further delivery of much-needed affordable rental housing for people with disabilities wishing to live independently in the community.”

Being the first New Zealand community housing organisation to attain Accreditation through the Community Housing Aotearoa/Global Mark scheme has helped to make this an outstanding year for Accessible Properties. Andrew said the process was affirming of what they do well and that going through the process has been a great way to document, review and evaluate what they do, how they do it and what they need to put in place for the future. This achievement taken together with Registration as Social Landlord – Class 1 through the Community Housing Regulatory Authority (CHRA), has enabled the organisation to demonstrate that it has all the documentation and processes to meet best practice and regulatory standards. It has also enabled Accessible Properties to be one of the first to access government Income Related Rents Subsidies (IRRS) for tenants.

Both Andrew Wilson and Nigel Smith, Housing Development Manager are actively involved in the Auckland Community Housing Providers Network (ACHPN) and in its bid to seek enhancements to the new Unitary Plan for the city, and work with Auckland Council in providing affordable housing in designated Special Housing Areas and on surplus Council land.

One of Accessible Properties’ key strengths is having the in-house expertise of a development team that is doing a great job in finding best value solutions and in producing outcomes within expected timeframes and on budget – particularly in Auckland and Christchurch, where good, affordable land is scarce and builders are over-committed.

A key service area of Accessible Properties that is growing is tenancy management. Val Johnston (Auckland), Suzanne Henderson (Wellington) and Renee Willis (Christchurch) are currently providing dedicated and competent tenancy management services and there are plans to further grow tenancy management capability over the next few months.

Shona Armstrong-Bird, Business Manager is a new addition to the growing team with a remit to overview applications and reports to funders, operating procedures, and national support activities.

The Board of Accessible Properties provides the experience, expertise and skill diversity needed to govern a growing and changing organisation. Its Chair is Paul Adams one of New Zealand’s most successful residential subdivision developers, also actively involved in community support work. He presides over an enthusiastic and committed group of members, which includes strong representation of IHC interests.

Accessible Properties also undertakes property management for the IHC-owned portfolio and for lease and rental management services for IDEA and Timata Hou. This portfolio comprises 1,100 properties, 80% of which is housing.

Key property achievements include:

  • Already completing 57 housing units in its programme of work funded by Social Housing Fund grants.
  • Owning and managing 73 social housing units. Six of these are rented to disability support services providers, and the remainder are rented to households at discounted, affordable rentals. Tenants are people with social support needs, with priority given to those with mobility difficulties or disabilities – those who can take best advantage of the special adaptions for accessibility.
  • Being on track to provide nearly 200 new homes by December 2015 in the areas identified as having the greatest housing need: Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton and Wellington. Almost all of these are new-build homes with special adaption for people with disabilities or limited mobility located in neighbourhoods near public transport, shops and community facilities. Wherever possible, housing is “pepper potted” in small groups on brown field sites and within suburbs to encourage tenant friendship networks, while achieving wider social cohesion into communities. Sizes vary from 1-bedroom to 3-bedroom, and housing is a mixture of detached, duplex, terrace and apartment dwellings.

Visit the Accessible Properties website here.

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