Nelson City Council's Housing Reserve hits the ground running

13/04/2022 1:03pm
NTHT Director Carrie Mozena, Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar and Habitat for Humanity Nelson General Manager Nick Clarke at 99 Muritai Street
NTHT Director Carrie Mozena, Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar and Habitat for Humanity Nelson General Manager Nick Clarke at 99 Muritai Street

Council has approved $1.85 million in grant funding from Phase One of its Housing Reserve to support the development of 19 new affordable homes.

Nelson Tasman Housing Trust (NTHT) has been awarded $850,000 to develop five affordable rental homes – one four-bedroom and four two-bedroom – at 99 Muritai Street in Tāhunanui. Habitat for Humanity Nelson has been awarded $1 million to develop fourteen dwellings at 623 Main Road Stoke. Two of the fourteen dwellings will be designated as affordable social rentals, while the remaining twelve will be made available through Habitat's rent-to-buy Progressive Home Ownership (PHO) programme.

Mayor Rachel Reese said this was about answering the call from the community for affordable housing as quicky as possible.

"By supporting projects from experienced housing providers with proven building track records, Phase One will be able to make a huge positive impact on Nelson's housing supply, delivering safe well-designed and warm homes that will give families security and a real chance to actually start planning for their future."

Chair of the Urban Development Subcommittee Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar said the projects supported by the Reserve responded to a housing need that other agencies weren't meeting.

"Spiralling rental costs and increases in the cost of living mean you can have a job – a stable income – and still have to put up with poor-quality, cold housing that does nothing for your family's health and nothing for your bank balance. It is sometimes easy to forget that housing is a fundamental right, and these projects tip the scales to ensure a family on a limited income can afford a decent, healthy home."

A recent survey by NTHT found there were over 400 Nelson Tasman households that didn't qualify for public housing but were in dire need of affordable housing.

NTHT Director Carrie Mozena said this funding was a welcome addition to an existing project.

"We applaud Council for making this capital grant to NTHT for affordable housing. The Council funds have leveraged a matching grant from a philanthropic donor. This enables NTHT to get going on our latest development of five warm, dry homes for people on low incomes."

Habitat for Humanity Nelson General Manager Nick Clarke said the funding is a "game-changer" and should be seen as a catalyst to support more people with housing needs.

"We take that funding, and we use it to leverage more funding to build houses both for rent and ownership. It is going to allow us to move much faster to get families into a situation where they can start enjoying home ownership and the associated security many of us take for granted. Our Progressive Home Ownership programme means we'll be able to recycle the funding to support multiple projects beyond the first project in Stoke to support even more families and individuals into decent homes."

"Partnering with NTHT and Habitat means every dollar invested by Council goes further due to the co-funding they can secure, and we are confident the outcome will be great," said Deputy Mayor Edgar.

The grants are part of Council's $12 million Housing Reserve, which was established in November 2020 following Council's sale of 142 community housing units to Kāinga Ora. In October 2021, it was announced that $2 million of the Reserve would open for applications to allow for a rapid response to the urgent need for housing. In the next phase of the Housing Reserve, the remaining funds will be used as leverage for further affordable housing projects, with a funding round expected later in the year.