2021 report of the Paekākāriki Housing Trust
November 2021 - Chair Tina Pope Photo credit: Mark Coote
It has been another remarkable year for the trust.
Communities all over the world have been tossed about by the Coronavirus and Aotearoa has entered a new phase with Delta and the abandonment of the elimination strategy. We have yet to see the impact of this on our own community and will be poised to repeat our efforts from the
first lockdown to provide emergency housing for those who need it. Over the past 20 months we have seen a dramatic example of the power and importance of community spirit, not just at a national level but also with all the acts of care and kindness in our village. As we have said before, the Housing Trust is an act of community spirit and its importance has been proven again and again.
Surge in house prices
We expected an economic downturn and hardship, and the housing difficulties that go with this. We did not expect the surge in house prices that occurred on the Kāpiti Coast and nationally. House prices continue to soar; so do rentsThis has created particular pressure in Paekākāriki where the housing stock is largely fixed. Kāpiti Coast housing prices are also being driven because of greater opportunities to work from home and the expected benefits from the completion of Transmission Gully. It is shocking to see ordinary 3-bedroom homes in our hāpori selling for 1.2 million dollars.
The work of the housing trust has become more essential; at the same time it is become more difficult. Finding properties to purchase or rent for community and social housing in a competitive market, with Paekākāriki’s constrained housing stock, makes this an especially challenging time.
The Council has begin some very good work on housing
We are heartened to see council’s efforts in addressing the housing crisis. It’s consultation for the Long Term Plan clearly showed the communities in kapiti want it to take an active role in addressing the hosuing crisis. The current needs analysis is the most comprehensive any local authority has undertaken. We encourage you all to complete the survey - online firstname.lastname@example.org/housing .
We were poised to undertake our own needs assessment but chose instead to input into the councils and they will share the results with us. We need 100 responses from paekakariki to have ......We continue to interview locals and former locals alongside this process and will hold a pop-up hui to support this work. Please spread the word and encourage others to complete the survey. In particular those who are retired and considering where they will live when they cannot manage in their current homes. We know we have the lowest percentage of elderly on the coast and this largely is because there are very few suitable homes here.
Increasing demand for housing on the coast and big changes to rules around intensification ahead
Research this year has identified that Kapiti Coast will need 14,000 more dwellings over the next 30 years. Growth is coming whether we want it or not and council are working on their growth strategy now, ahead of a review of the district plan. There may be big impacts on Paekakariki and the trust will hold a hui in the new year to consult with our community on this.
We purchased our second home and now there’s another house available for social housing
With support from the Kāpiti Coast District Council and in association with Ngāti Toa and its housing agency Te Āhuru Mōwai, the Trust has bought its second house. The is the old KCDC caretaker’s house in Te Miti St. The process as been a long and complicated one but with the goodwill of the parties involved we are delighted that another house in the village will be managed for social housing.
We continue to hear of heartbreaking stories from locals in desperate housing need
The housing crisis is alive and real in Paekakariki.
Here is a summary of the many initiatives we have on the go:
We have expanded our work as property managers, seeking affordable properties in the community and managers these for the owners and tenants. The Trust now manages 7 properties. All but one is below market rent and the one property that is rented at market level was an airbnb and now houses a local Family.
Another way we can see to improve the diversity and flexibility of housing in Paekākāriki is through encouraging people to add accessory dwellings to their properties. These could be rented by owners (privately, or through the Trust as a property manager) or or could provide more flexible options for family members. We are developing a kete for people interested in this option about how to go about it and recently held a well-attended hui to discss this mahi. It was heartening to hear the generosity of those who have already done this and are in theproicess of doing this, willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Watch this space next year.
The Healthy Housing Standards for rental properties came into force in July 2019. They set minimum standards for insulation, heating, ventilation, drainage and draft stopping. The Trust plans is working with the Sustainability Trust to hold a workshop (originally scheduled for March 2020) to inform landlords of their obligations in the new year.
The Housing Trust is heavily involved in the Wainuiwhenua Working Group that is working to secure community objectives for the disposal of about 450 hectares of the land encircling Paekākāriki. This land will become surplus after the completion of the Transmission Gully motorway. In addition to important environmental and recreational objectives, small parcels of land near the village and closer to Mackays Crossing offer the best opportunity for affordable and social housing that the village has had in many many years.
Good progress is being made behind the scenes on the project. The Wainuiwhenua Working Grpiup is working closely with leaders of Ngāti Toa and the Greater Wellington Regional Council. There is agreement on the overall objectives and real potential to advance these through active support for the protection of the environment and also meeting social, economic, and cultural needs including social housing and facilities for Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki.
In association with Victoria University, the Trust funded two pieces of student research in the summer of 2019-2020. The first was a useful analysis of the Public Works Act provisions and their implications for the Wainuiwhenua project. The second is an important review of the latest research on water management systems and the possible impacts of additional housing in the village on the five waters: potable water, rainwater, waste, grey water, stormwater. We have now received this important research and are working through it. We are grateful to Flo McNeill for her work on this.
We do not do this work alone. Key partnerships have been strengthened by these initiatives and our work has been strengthened through these partnerships. We are obviously locally-focused. We work most closely with the Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki hapu. In the past year our relationships with Ngāti Toa and its housing agency Te Āhuru Mōwai have strengthened greatly. The work of the KCDC is critical to achieving affordable housing in our district and we regularly meet with staff. In presenting our submission on the Council’s Long Term Plan in May 2021 we stressed the need and opportunity for the Council to be an enabler of social and community housing. We have also worked closely with Sustainability Trust on healthy homes.
We continue to have discussions with anyone we can - other social housing providers, local landlords, tradespeople, architects and so on.
Coordinator/Administrator/committees and governance
We set aside funds to employ part-time coordinator and administrator - Mike Stringfellow and Helen Whittaker - and this has greatly improved our ability to do our work. We’ve been able to do this as a result of generous donations.
We continue to rely on the work of our volunteers - both trustees and others. It’s important work we’re doing and I’m grateful for everyone involved in this collective effort.