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Homes for People eyeing up region

Left to right, Palmerston North city councillor Vaughan Dennison, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, Darren and Cheri Birch. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Palmerston North-based organisation Homes for People is keen on building affordable homes in Masterton when the land, community investors, and resource consents line up.

Husband and wife team Darren and Cheri Birch have had conversations before about the possibility of building in Wairarapa but say the opportunity had not come about.

The social enterprise organisation website says it exists to relieve poverty, “by developing social and affordable housing to help low-income people and households in the community into homes”.

Its vision is to “empower and transform community by working with residential partners, offers stable and secure home tenure. This contributes to improved social, physical, emotional and financial health outcomes”.

“We are definitely interested to build in Masterton as it is close enough for us to manage, but we need to find suitable land and attract community investors,” Darren said.

Cheri said because its community investors were not contributing for financial gains on the properties but for social enterprise reasons, it can build and sell houses to people who meet their social housing need criteria.

A reason for this is because the funders don’t require a big return on their loan to the trust.

“They are not tiny, mobile homes, they last for decades and decades,” Cheri said. “We build units with brick that have coloursteel roofs.”

The company also manages transitional housing in Palmerston North for the Ministry of Social Development. The government has bought a hotel there and it is now used for that purpose.

Homes for People has completed the development of five one-bedroom homes, and six two-bedroom homes. They were sold to first homeowners, people downsizing, retained as social housing, and part of Homes for People’s assisted homeowner programme. It has another 16 house builds in the pipeline in the Manawatu area.

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