Work continues ‘at pace’ to fix Tairawhiti’s public housing crisis – The Gisborne Herald

2022-06-15 18:55:44 By : Ms. Double Ng

Whānau moved into four new homes in Oxford Street this week as work continues “at pace” to address the region's public housing crisis.

The four homes are among the first new public housing developments to be built in Kaiti since the 1980s.

The homes have been built on Kāinga Ora-owned land that has been vacant for some time.

Reverend Kira Broughton blessed the two-bedroom and four-bedroom homes yesterday.

A “whatever it takes” approach is being used to address the housing crisis in Tairāwhiti, Kāinga Ora regional director Naomi Whitewood said.

“We are looking at how we can build new, modern homes that make best use of the land we hold, and deliver homes of different sizes that best meet the current housing needs of the community.

“Kāinga Ora is working with a range of build partners to get suitable housing on our vacant sections.

“We are having success with this approach. Two families moved into new four-bedroom homes in Dennis Street last month and 20 new public homes will have been completed in Kaiti in the next six months.”

Iconiq Group, which runs a building academy in Gisborne, built the Dennis and Oxford Street homes.

The Ministry for Social Development (MSD) funded the academy through the Māori Trades and Training Fund.

Eight apprentices are assisting with the construction of the homes.

Iconiq is also building relocatable homes at its Dunstan Road facility. When the homes are finished, they are moved to their permanent location.

One of these is soon to go on to a Kāinga Ora section in Martin Road.

Other new Kaiti homes have been built off-site and will be relocated on to Kāinga Ora sections.

Two two-bedroom homes were moved on to Daphne Road sites earlier this year. They were built at an academy based at Spring Hill Corrections Facility near Huntly and transported to Gisborne.

Another new home was relocated on to a second vacant section in Martin Road in June. It was built by a building academy based at Massey High School in Auckland.

Local company Currie Construction is also building new homes in Kaiti for Kāinga Ora.

Currie is building nine new public homes in London Street, two of which will be completed before Christmas while seven public homes in Tyndall Road are under construction and will be completed mid-2022.

Currie Construction has built four homes in Alice Street in the last couple of years.

“Whānau are suffering out there because they have nowhere suitable to live,” Mrs Whitewood said.

“These 20 houses will provide warm, dry and healthy homes for Tairāwhiti whānau and their tamariki to live well.

“Five years ago we had an oversupply of public housing here and no new homes were being built. Now we have more than 500 applicants on the housing register.

“That is why we are working at pace to provide suitable housing to address that urgent need,” Mrs Whitewood said.

MSD match whānau on the Social Housing Register with the suitability of the new homes. Larger or extended families are housed in the four-bedroom homes.

“In some cases, we rehouse current tenants into something more suitable. For instance, we may rehouse a couple living in a three-bedroom home into a one-bedroom home.”

All the new homes are built to 6 Homestar standard. This means the homes are healthier and more energy efficient.

Homestar, run by the New Zealand Green Building Council, is a national residential rating tool that evaluates homes in terms of warmth, health, sustainability, energy and water efficiency.

Kāinga Ora has committed to ensuring new builds deliver at least to the 6 Homestar standard and exceed Building Code standards for warmth, dryness and health.

All whare across the country, including the east North Island, are built to 6 Homestar and Healthy Homes Standards.