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Christchurch Three Years On: Philanthropic trust eyes housing

Canterbury Community Trust identifies the housing shortage facing Christchurch three years post-earthquake as one of the most serious problems facing the city.

With a capital base of more than $500 million, it released $25 million in 2013 to create a one-off Special Fund aimed at rebuilding the social fabric of the Canterbury community, with $10 million used to create a Social Housing Fund.

Trust chairwoman Tracey Chambers says the Social Housing Fund is a joint venture partnership with the Social Housing Unit and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, and community housing providers that have been enlisted to deliver them – Accessible Properties, Comcare Trust and Habitat for Humanity.

“Getting a housing programme up and running has been a priority not just for us but also for the organisations we are involved with.  

“We approved late last year $4.3 million from our Social Housing Fund, which has contributed to three multi-million dollar social housing developments to be completed in 2014,” she says.

These developments totalling $17.1 million will be built around the city, with 51 new homes funded by the trust and the government.

“Housing shortages are at a critical level across the board in Christchurch. Fifty-one houses do not sound much in the big picture but it is significant in terms of growth in the community housing sector in the city.” 

Mrs Chambers says in many cases the housing itself is just one factor in the complex needs of social housing tenants.  

For instance, Comcare, which provides residential care for individuals who have experienced mental illness and/or addictions has indicated that post-earthquake its housing referrals are up from 50% to 70%.  


“We have seen first-hand from our social services sector and involvement with the Social Housing Unit that the housing shortages currently facing the city are at a critical level.” 

Read: the rest of the Christchurch Three Years On feature stories here

Comments and questions

The answer to the housing shortage is simple.
Release large tracts of land for residential land get the consenting process up to speed and allow the market to work.