This month marks a year since the Hastings Place Based Plan pilot to tackle the housing challenges in the district was launched, and significant progress has been made to help more whānau into safe, dry, warm affordable homes.
Hawke’s Bay has some of the highest levels of housing need in New Zealand in terms of population size, and within that Hastings has a range of complex and inter-related housing issues putting pressure on whānau and communities.
To address this Hastings District Council began to engage with the Crown, Iwi, and government agencies midway through last year to tackle this challenge and came up with the Hastings Place Based Plan housing solution.
Officially launched by the Government in December 2019, the holistic programme includes not only building new affordable houses and papakāinga, but also addressing homelessness and conducting repairs on existing Māori-owned homes to make them healthier and more liveable, making a huge difference to those who live in them.
The agencies involved are: Hastings District Council, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Social Development, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board and the Department of Corrections.
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Chief Executive Andrew Crisp said that to achieve a sustainable improvement in housing, it was important to be prepared to think and act differently.
“The progress that is being made in Hastings reinforces the importance of central and local government, iwi and providers working together to drive change.”
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said getting whānau into their own homes and out of motels or other temporary accommodation is one of council’s highest priorities.
“Coming together with these other agencies to create locally-led solutions that include employing local people in construction has been really effective and we are proud of what’s been achieved so far.”
She said that along with providing infrastructure support for the developments, Hastings District Council was also freeing up land to develop for affordable housing, particularly in Flaxmere where development has started on 17 first homes and 18 public houses in Tarbet St, and other council land in the area is actively under consideration for housing.
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga has been working on a development in Flaxmere West, called Waingākau Village, the aim of which is to build up to 120 high-quality, well designed, healthy and environmentally sustainable houses and infrastructure.
Chief executive George Reedy said that while delivering homes was important, there was also a strong focus on providing pathways to home ownership for whānau.
“We’re exploring ways we can support people into home ownership, through shared equity and rent-to-own options, and other innovative initiatives that will help people navigate the financial challenges in today’s market.”
Housing repairs project
This is a collaborative project between Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, through its Child Healthy Housing Programme, and Te Puni Kōkiri and Wharariki Trust. To date 20 assessments of critical repair work needed on Māori-owned homes in Hastings have been completed.
Referred through the Child Health Housing initiative, the assessment identifies the repairs required to make the home safe, warm and healthy for the whānau, and so far six homes have had the repairs carried out.
More state homes, with more on the way
As part of the place-based approach, Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities is aiming to have delivered an extra 160 warm, dry quality homes in Hastings by the end of 2021.
Kāinga Ora business development director Darren Toy said he was pleased with the progress being made to deliver more public housing, despite the pace of the programme being affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, which resulted in there being no building activity for nearly two months earlier this year.
“Alongside our build partners, we worked hard to deliver 24 homes in Hastings this year with another 23 new homes on track to be delivered by the end of the year, meaning more families in warm, dry and healthy homes this Christmas.”
In addition there were about another 80 homes currently under construction or contract, he said.
Mrs Hazlehurst said these efforts under the place based plan were just the start.
“While we are focused on getting our people into properties they can call their own in the short-term, we are also looking further ahead into the medium and long-term at how we can be innovative, responsive, and make a difference to people’s lives that’s sustainable.”
Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has been working hard to support people who are experiencing homelessness through Housing First. The approach is to provide housing quickly, then offer tailored support for as long as it is needed to help people stay housed and address the underlying support needs that led to their experience of homelessness. From December 2019, in Napier and Hastings, Whatever it Takes Charitable Trust, Emerge Aotearoa and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga are working together to deliver the Housing First programme. They are funded to house and support up to 50 people and whānau in Napier and Hastings.
Transitional housing helps people in urgent need of a place to stay so they don’t become homeless. A strong benefit of transitional housing is the support services provided to help tenants transition into long-term housing. There are now 3,533 transitional housing places across the country, helping thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders and whanau, with more to come. In Hastings at the end of the quarter there were 187 transitional housing places.
Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities
Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities public housing makes up the majority of the Hastings short-term response, aiming to deliver an extra 160 homes around the end of 2021.
These homes range from one-bedroom, single-storey units to six-bedroom, two-storey units to meet the range of different housing needs in the area.
Te Puni Kōkiri
At the end of last year the Government committed $8.7m to support the delivery of papakāinga housing and whānau home repairs in Hawke’s Bay.
This affordable housing on Māori land is being developed through effective cross-sectoral engagement with whānau and hapū, Te Puni Kōkiri, the Māori Land Court, Hastings District Council and project consultants.
On November 21, a four-home papakāinga in Waiōhiki was opened, the first project to be completed under the Hastings place based initiative. Te Puni Kōkiri also has developments underway in areas including Waipatu, Waimārama, Moteo, Kohupātiki and Te Haukē.
Housing repairs project
This project is making a real difference to whānau, who have told their stories in a series of videos:
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga
In Flaxmere West, TToH company Waingākau Housing Development has been working hard to address the demand for affordable homes for whānau.
To date, at Waingākau Village three houses have been completed and three more are in progress.
With the benefit of Provincial Development Unit funding received in September, civil works on roading within the development will pave the way for another 83 plots to be activated – a major stepping stone to bring this project to life.
This housing will include a mix of public housing, shared equity and rent-to-own options, and other innovative ways into home ownership are also being explored.
These include quality secondary dwellings to cater for intergenerational living on individual properties, and working with partner banks and mortgage brokers to provide support for potential buyers through deposit guarantees.
22 December 2020
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