The Christchurch Methodist Mission is poised to significantly increase its community housing in east Christchurch.

Last month it purchased two new-build Aranui houses for families who are homeless and is also set to sign the lease on what will become its largest single housing community for families in the city.

The Aranui houses will provide stability and security for two families. Both houses are on the same title, providing opportunities for a two-generational family that wants to live together, or to be used as housing for youth, people with intellectual disabilities, or for young parents and their support workers.

The two houses (two bedroom and three bedroom) were purchased from a Christchurch community housing trust. High quality, with open plan living room and kitchen, they are double glazed, well-insulated, north facing and are near shops and schools.

The houses are presently being used as transitional housing, under a contract with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

After the success of Weteriana Courts in Linwood, CMM has purchased a further 16 homes that had been used as homes for people whose houses were being repaired post-earthquake. They will be located at another east Christchurch location once a lease agreement is signed.

The proposed new community will be offered to families on the social housing register and so are either homeless, in transitional housing or in housing that is unsuitable.

Most of the houses are three bedroom, with some two and four bedroom. Another house will be dedicated to activities to promote a sense of community amongst the families.

“In our experience if there is no common area for families to come together then it becomes hard to promote community-based activities. We hope to offer activities and events such as courses on budgeting, cooking, coffee morning groups, courses for kids and family holiday activities,” Executive Director Jill Hawkey says.

“CMM sees first-hand the struggles of people trying to find an affordable and suitable place to call home. Our social workers who work with families say that housing is often the number one issue affecting their clients.”

Currently, almost 900 households in Christchurch are on the Ministry of Social Development social housing register.

“As a registered community housing provider, our priority is to provide warm, affordable and secure housing to vulnerable families and older people without assets.”

CMM currently has 26 bedsits, 12 one-bedroom villas and 11 one-bedroom apartments for older people at Wesley Village plus 18 houses for families, including the two new Aranui houses. It also provides transitional housing for families who are homeless. It leases 14 houses in Christchurch and 35 houses and motel units in Blenheim for this purpose. CMM is also leading the Housing First collaborations for people who have been long term homeless in Christchurch and Blenheim.

Aranui houses

By purchasing two new houses, CMM is able to increase support to families who might not otherwise afford warm and secure housing.