Homeless to be housed by Christmas

The houses are of a similar design to these homes also built for transitional housing, at Luke Street in Auckland. Supplied photo.

The first nine of 19 transitional houses built on Opal Drive in Papamoa will be handed over to the Tauranga Community Housing Trust on Monday.

The Ministry of Social Development says final works on these homes is underway so families with an urgent need for housing can have somewhere to live before Christmas.

The emergency housing is designed to provide short-term accommodation for families that find themselves suddenly homeless.

MSD deputy chief executive Scott Gallacher is pleased with the progress being made at the Opal Drive development.

“We anticipate eight families will have a new home to stay in before Christmas.

“We thank the community for their interest and on-going support. These homes will help many local families in need.”

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller says he’s been a strong advocate of the project from the beginning.

“The broader Papamoa and Tauranga community have been seeking social housing, and this was an opportunity the government had with support from the council, which had the land available for some short-term housing options,” he says.

“They’re impressive buildings, and I look forward to seeing them myself.”

He acknowledges some residents were initially concerned about the social impact of having homeless families moving into the neighbourhood.

“But it’s like when any new concept is put on the table: people had a number of questions, and the onus was the council and Ministry of Social Development to answer them.

“There’s a strong criteria around the people most in need being looked after, and there will be someone site to add a level of safety for the families staying there, as well as to create confidence for the wider community. I have every confidence it will work.”

Bay of Plenty Labour list MP Angie Warren-Clark, who lives in Papamoa, attended a meeting during her campaign about the project, and understands it’s been a controversial issue.

“I firmly believe we need emergency housing. We have 40,000 people in this country who are homeless, and many more who are couch surfing or are stuffed into garages. I’m looking forward to the community rallying around and supporting these people.

“Contrary to some beliefs, many of these people are the working poor, or have just lost their accommodation and can’t find something they can afford. We don’t need to be afraid of people in social housing, and I know they’ll get the support they need in Papamoa.”

The remaining 10 transitional housing units will be ready for tenanting by February 2018.


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