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Cashing in: Trust has big plans to address housing crisis

Trust House chief executive Charlie Kaka. PHOTO/FILE

Despite the economic shock caused by covid-19, Trust House recorded a record net profit of $7.86 million for the latest financial year.

Chief executive Charlie Kaka said this puts the trust in an ideal position to tackle Wairarapa’s housing crisis.

Estimates by Trust House show a shortfall of about 200 social housing rental properties in Wairarapa.

Kaka said Trust House would “optimistically” build 100 new homes in the region over the next five years.

“If other interested parties match that number – we have gone a long way to solving the crisis.”

Trust House has committed $4.5 million for the 2021-22 year to increase its housing stock on three sites.

It anticipates that despite challenges generated by covid-19 for material supply and resources, the company would get all three projects started during this financial year.

Kaka said filling the housing gap would rely on those with a vested interest working in partnership to solve what has been a problem several decades in the making.

“It is acknowledged by local politicians across Wairarapa and Tararua that Trust House is well-positioned to play a pivotal role in the recovery process,” he said.

Kaka said the government had signalled that Wairarapa was on its radar.

“Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty has consistently said he is committed to having Kainga Ora regain a presence in the region. I welcome the return of Kainga Ora and look forward to working with them.”

He said the scale and speed of recovery would depend on the availability of capital, builders, and building materials.

Trust House is the largest community housing provider in Wairarapa and Tararua, with 482 rental properties, plus an additional 19 papakainga homes that it manages.

Its commercial and residential property assets were now valued at $146 million, a huge increase from last year after a revaluation that reflected the massive growth of the residential property market in recent years, a spokesperson said.

Since purchasing the public housing stock in 1999, Trust House said it had spent more than $27 million on maintenance and refurbishments. The houses had an average age of 60 years.

Rents, on average, had been set below the lower quartile benchmarks when compared against Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment [MBIE] rent and bond statistics, a spokesperson said.

At the end of March, there were 241 Trust House tenants and their families receiving the Government’s Income Related Rent subsidy.

At least another 30 per cent of tenants were thought to be eligible for the subsidy, Kaka said.

He said its housing officers would assist the eligible tenants with their applications to the Ministry of Social Development to receive the subsidy.

According to its annual report, grants, charitable donations, and sponsorships stood at $3.23 million for the year, taking a hit from the previous year.

Grants, charitable donations, and sponsorships for the year before had been about $4 million, a spokesperson said.

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