1 Jun 2013

Govt promising more homes for Christchurch

5:57 am on 1 June 2013

The Government is planning to build more homes in Christchurch besides 700 new state houses announced on Friday.

For the first time, it will also build houses to be sold on as affordable homes, and others to be sold to social housing agencies. However, some Christchurch charities say the state houses will not be finished soon enough.

Nick Smith.

Nick Smith. Photo: NZ GOVERNMENT

Housing Minister Nick Smith says more one- and two-bedroom homes will be built in the South Island city to address the shortage of smaller houses since the damaging earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Dr Smith announced a programme on Friday in which 700 new houses will be built by the end of 2015 at a cost of $170 million. The first should be ready for occupancy in September this year.

As part of the programme, 200 Housing New Zealand sites will be built on.

Dr Smith says a diversity of housing will be built, both smaller homes and larger houses for families who are currently overcrowded. He says it's the biggest Government house building programme in the history of Christchurch.

The Methodist Mission provides accommodation for Christchurch families that can't afford to pay rent.

Executive director Mary Richardson says it has already been a long wait since the quakes and the end of 2015 is too far away for people currently in dire straits who are having to sleep in cars and garages.

"There is really a need for more from Government, from council, from the private sector and also from the not-for-profit sector to really address the needs that we have in Christchurch."

The Salvation Army and the YWCA said there is a desperate need for housing and their accommodation in Christchurch is full.