Christchurch’s newest community housing is the proud result of deciding to do things differently.
Korimako Lane, the first stage of Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust’s ambitious Brougham St development, opened on Friday.
It’s the largest building project commissioned by ŌCHT since the trust was established in 2016.
It’s also one of the largest developments of its kind under construction for an NGO in New Zealand.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel cut the ribbon to open the first 28 homes of the 90-home Southbase-delivered development.
She told the crowd of about 100 people the opening was an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved since the council proposed change how it provided community housing.
“Doing things differently” – leasing council-owned properties to a trust and capitalising the trust to build new homes – had changed community housing for the better.
She was proud of the council’s bold decision, and of the progress partner ŌCHT had made so far.
The new homes she opened, and those already on the books, were “enablers” that provided housing security as tenants built their lives, she said.
The service ŌCHT provides helped support tenants and ensured the houses were not simply properties, but homes.
ŌCHT chief executive Cate Kearney paid tribute to all those who contributed to the development, including contractors Southbase, architects South by Southwest, the Tenant Advisory Group and ŌCHT staff.
The project would not have been possible without the unflagging support of the city council, and its bold plan to improve the way community housing was delivered.
New Zealand needed to know what was happening in Christchurch, and how it could improve community housing provision across the country.
The Government has announced plans to provide another 8000 community houses, but the country needed another 15,000-16,000 to meet the needs of the national social housing register.
The Christchurch model needed to be considered as New Zealand worked to get people out of living in cars and motels, and into places they can call home, she said.
Trust chairman Alex Skinner said Brougham St is the Trust’s sixth development.
It has opened 75 units since it was established four years ago, and more are planned.
All, including Korimako Lane, opened on time and either on or below budget, he said.
The Brougham St development was designed as a series of communities, with shared spaces, communal gardens and even access to e-transport such as scooters and, later, other electric vehicles.