New Projects Address Housing Crisis

Published on 6th of June, 2024

CMM has been working since the 1980s to provide affordable homes for families and individuals in housing need.

We became a registered Community Housing Provider in 2014 and since then we have delivered a range of housing and homelessness services in Ōtautahi/Christchurch and Te Tau Ihu/Top of the South Island.

The need is urgent. Nationally, the number of households on the Ministry of Social Development’s Housing Register is over twenty-five thousand, up from ten thousand just five years ago. To qualify for the Register, families or individuals must have a serious housing need. Almost all of those currently on the Register are classified by MSD as Priority A, that is, they are considered to be at risk of homelessness. Unfortunately there are simply not enough affordable homes available. This is why CMM is committed to housing as one of our core services. Currently we have several projects at various stages of completion.

In Somerfield St, Ōtautahi, we are delighted to be working in partnership with St Mark’s (Christchurch South Methodist Parish) to build five homes – three 3-bedroom and two 2-bedroom – on a property next door to the church. The parish has taken seriously the 2021 commitment by the Methodist Conference to ‘explore how [the Church] could best use its financial, property and human resources to address the housing crisis and wellbeing of communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.’

Conference invited parishes to consider whether they owned any land that could be used for social housing. St Mark’s has responded to this invitation. As a result of this partnership, five families who faced an uncertain future will have homes. Construction began in January this year and is expected to be completed by September.

Meanwhile, we are expanding our housing for older people in Wesley Village, Papanui. Currently the Village has 26 studio units, 16 one-bedroom villas, 15 apartments and Whare Tiaki, providing supported independent living for eight kaumātua Māori. But there is a waiting list of 85 people. This is a sign of things to come.

The Retirement Commission estimates that by 2048, forty per cent of retirees will be renters and many of these will lack the finance to buy into a retirement village of the kind run by for-profit aged care providers. When the main pathway towards a secure retirement relies on home ownership those who do not have this asset need affordable housing options.

CMM is building 14 new one-bedroom units in Wesley Village, with construction beginning in June. These will be a mix of affordable and social housing.

We are not only working in Ōtautahi/ Christchurch. We are also building in Te Tau Ihu/Top of the South Island where there is significant housing need: at the end of last year, there were 246 households on the Register in Marlborough. We are building six 2-bedroom homes in Blenheim for families from the Register. Construction began last August and families will be able to move in during August 2024.

Living in a safe, warm, dry affordable house is a human right. Having secure tenure means much more than simply a roof over one’s head. It also means being able to belong to a neighbourhood, form friendships, find a local job, send children to school and live a settled life. This should be available to all New Zealanders.