Nelson City Council activates Housing Reserve for rapid affordable housing response

05/10/2021 4:40am

Responding to the urgent need for housing in Nelson, Phase One of Nelson City Council’s Housing Reserve is underway with Council approving $2 million in grant funding to be provided to organisations able to increase the supply of affordable housing.

The $12 million Housing Reserve was established in November 2020 following Council’s sale of 142 community housing units to Kāinga Ora.

In a meeting on Tuesday, 5 October, elected members heard from community housing providers Habitat for Humanity Nelson and the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust about the significant impact the funding would have in assisting them to deliver affordable housing projects in the near future.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said the grants will allow the city to help those whose lives are affected by the housing shortage.

“Our community needs affordable housing now, and as housing costs continue to rise, we must act quickly. 

“People who are our friends and neighbours are struggling to access a fundamental human right, secure and safe housing. We want to support projects that will provide safe, well-designed homes that keep people connected to their communities.”

Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar said she was looking forward to seeing proposals for housing that support those in the “missing middle” - people on relatively stable incomes who can struggle to find warm, secure housing.

“Every day, there is another article about the housing crisis. Every day, people are forced to shift because they lack secure, affordable housing. Every day, people are getting sick due to poor quality housing. The housing crisis leaves none of us untouched and we can only address it by working together.

“The housing reserve is a game-changer for Nelson, and by releasing $2m now, we can help much-needed projects get off the ground in the short term, while working to ensure the remainder of the fund can make a lasting contribution to housing in Nelson.

“We frequently talk about housing like it’s just a building, but what we are really talking about is a home; a safe haven, a sanctuary, a stable foundation. A place for children to be raised, older couples to enjoy their twilight years, and newlyweds to establish themselves. A place for laughter, love and memories. So today, we have taken an important step to help create a secure, safe, stable new start for people by supporting homes.”

Applications to Phase One of the Housing Reserve Grants Programme will be open for four weeks, from 7 October 2021 to 3 November 2021.

Applicants must be able to show a level of co-investment from other sources or partners alongside the amount of Housing Reserve grant money being sought and plans should feature environmentally responsible and low-maintenance design.

Applications will also be selected based on how closely they meet Council’s criteria, including the readiness and timeline of the project, design and environmental standards, and the applicant’s experience and track record