Nelson Tasman Housing Trust hoping for injection of funds

Jun 23, 2017 | Uncategorised

Orchard St homes developed by the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust with the help of the Rata Foundation.

Martin de Ruyter/Fairfax NZ

The Orchard St development is one of seven developments owned and managed by the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust.

The Rata Foundation gave the Trust $200,000 in 2015 to help ensure the project could go ahead, and the trust purchased the land from Housing New Zealand. The Nelson City Council also provided funding support.

Trust Director Carrie Mozena said they did a robust screening and interview process to find the right tenants for the new development.

She said they prioritised people in need, but also wanted tenants who would care for the properties and get along with their neighbours.

“We want to get diversity, a mix of ages, some with children some without and a mix of ethnicities,” Mozena said.

“[Diversity is] helpful for the health of the community.”

She said around 25 percent of their tenants across their developments were former refugees, 25 percent were Maori, and 50 percent Pakeha.

Now the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust is hoping it will get an injection of government funds to help it do further developments.

Mozena said an initial proposal had been put together and presented to government ministers Nick Smith and Amy Adams.

She said a change in government policy meant where community housing groups had once had access to capital grants, they now were in the same arrangement as Housing New Zealand, where the government paid rent subsidies for tenants.

The Trust, like Housing New Zealand, sets market rents and tenants contribute 25 percent of their income towards it; the government tops up the rest.

She said the lack of grants, however, meant it could be challenging to get things off the ground at the outset, so the government was reassessing how it could ensure community housing trusts could still build new houses.

Building and Construction Minister and Nelson MP Nick Smith said he hd brought Social Housing Minister Amy Adams to see the Orchard St development, and had discussed with her the opportunity for the government to enter into a contract with the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust.

If it were to take the same form as other agreements the government has with regional housing trusts, it would mean a 25-year contract of guaranteed rent subsidies for the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust, and some funding upfront to enable new builds.

He said was still a wait-and-see situation, the Government was keen to support community trusts, as they were often in a better position than Housing New Zealand to meet community needs and manage tenants.

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