4 Dec 2015

New Christchurch emergency housing opens

9:43 am on 4 December 2015

The Christchurch City Mission's opening new emergency housing today, just as figures released to RNZ show the rebuild of social housing in the city is still behind schedule.

A retaining wall once 1.5 metres away moves to within a few centimetres of the house.

Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

It was 2013 when Housing New Zealand announced plans to rebuild 700 state houses in Christchurch by the end of 2015.

The social housing provider's spokesman, Andrew Booker, said that completion date had been pushed back amid delays.

"It's not all going to be done by the end of the year but we will have 440 done by Christmas with the rest of the homes done by mid next year."

Mr Booker said 386 homes were under construction in over 20 suburbs around the city.

"Although new builds are behind schedule, 5000 earthquake damaged state houses have been repaired."

There are currently 551 people on the social housing register in Christchurch.

Mr Booker said consent delays were one of several things that could go wrong when building houses in Christchurch.

"The reality is building in the Christchurch environment is difficult unless you have good ground, we are always rolling with the punches, so yes it was stretched target but it is a target we are going to eventually met."

The Christchurch City Mission is joining other groups helping the homeless and vulnerable, providing transitional housing.

Christchurch City Missioner, Michael Gorman, in one of the missions three new tranistional apartments for homeless families.

Christchurch City Missioner, Michael Gorman, in one of the missions three new transitional apartments for homeless families. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

City Missioner Michael Gorman said the three units are for homeless families with children.

"Christchurch is still absolutely needing safe affordable housing, I think we have enough housing but most of it is four bedroom, two bathroom homes which people on lower incomes will never be able to afford."

Mr Gorman said the families will pay cheaper rent with the idea they save for a bond to move into a private rental.

They can stay in the units for up to three months.

"This is affordable accommodation but I want to stress it is temporary, we do not want them to get trapped here."

"We want to help them out of the horrible circumstances they are in; living in cars, living with family in over crowded situations and giving them a place to live while they regroup," Mr Gorman said.

Christchurch city councillor Glen Livingstone said work being done by groups such as the City Mission was tremendous.

"What we are doing as a council is going into partnership with them and the government, I think at the end of the day we all need to work together to address the housing needs in Christchurch."

"Housing New Zealand may not quite reach their target when first hoped but the intention is there," Mr Livingstone said.