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Unanswered questions await new Trust House chief

The board of Wairarapa social housing provider Trust House is declining to front on questions from the Times-Age about aspects of its performance.

Instead, the board has indicated through a communications advisor that it would prefer these questions be answered by the organisation’s new chief executive.

It’s understood the trust’s new operational head will be announced later this week.

Previous chief executive Charles Kaka resigned two weeks ago from the position he held for two-and-a-half years in order to “explore other opportunities”, according to a trust statement.

Kaka’s sudden departure came hard on the heels of the trust’s announcement that 478 of its tenants would face an average rent increase of about 60 per cent from April, a decision that was partially reversed after coverage critical of the decision [the signalled increases for 189 tenants are now on hold “while a review of the Trust’s Housing Improvement Programme is carried out”].

The need to upgrade the trust’s housing stock has been given as the reason for the rent rise, although it is not expected to fully cover this programme’s costs. Questions to the trust include:

Does Trust House have a comprehensive written plan for upgrading and repairing its existing housing stock and, if so, can the Times-Age be provided with a copy?

Why is the substantial profit Trust House reported in the 2022 financial year not being used to repair and upgrade its housing stock in the first instance?

What is the source of the trust’s $20 million or so of debt – and what’s the exact figure?

What has contributed to the apparent 85 per cent increase in the trust’s operational expenses in the past four years?

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