26 Sep 2015

Maori trust manager relieved after call

8:05 am on 26 September 2015

The manager of a Maori trust trying to get people into their first homes is feeling more hopeful of success, after a phone call from Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.


Ricky Houghton in front of the affordable housing project, Whare Ora.

Ricky Houghton Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

He Korowai Trust was advised this week it could lose its charitable status, if it sells state houses it has renovated, to needy families.

The Charities Commission has had to review the status of many social housing providers after a court found a Queenstown scheme was not charitable because it conferred private benefit on the homeowners, rather than the community.

He Korowai manager Ricky Houghton said he had been in despair and could not bear to tell the Kaitaia families their hopes of home ownership might be dashed.

But he said his spirits lifted when the minister called him on Friday.

Mr Houghton said Ms Bennett assured him she and the government support He Korowai's housing project, and officials were working hard to resolve the question of charitable status.

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