Housing New Zealand announces new Bond Policy

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Housing New Zealand is reducing the financial burden of moving into a state house through its new bond policy.

From Sunday 7 April 2019 a bond will no longer be collected from new tenants. Housing New Zealand’s policy has been to collect two weeks income-related rent as a bond.

The new policy will reduce the barriers for people getting into state housing. People who are not in a home often cannot easily afford to pay a bond upfront. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) often pays the bond on their behalf which is recoverable.

This decision to not charge a bond for new tenants supports Housing New Zealand’s social objectives of getting people who need help the most into good quality, warm, dry, and healthy rental housing, without the stress of financial barriers.

While new tenants will no longer need to a pay bond, they are still bound by their obligations as a tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA).

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A nation gets neighbourly

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

From all around the country, Housing New Zealand residents have been getting to know one another by celebrating Neighbours Day.

Stacey and Bethany

For Stacey and her daughter Bethany, Neighbours Day festivities were a chance to catch up with some familiar faces.

Stacey is a Tenancy Manager in Mosgiel and got stuck in with organisers from the local community board to help neighbours get to know each other.

“Bethany’s become familiar with a few of the other tenants and their children because of coming to other things, so it’s quite nice and a lot of tenants love seeing that side,” Stacey said.

Part of the our effort at the event was to run a halal sausage sizzle to cater for the area’s Syrian refugee community. Meeting our families had meant Bethany was quickly “developing that awareness of other cultures,” Stacey said.

Gill Brown, Southern Area Manager, said about 100 people attended throughout the day.

There are about 230 of our homes in the area and attendees got to learn more about organisations like police, Fire and Emergency NZ, Civil Defence and Red Cross.

“Any time that we can be part of an event where it shows that the whole community is working together, that’s got to be a bonus,” Gill said.

In Wellington, adults and children painted and planted pots.

While our tenants in Mosgiel organised face painting and a colouring competition, the Mascot Street pensioner complex at the other end of the country in Auckland celebrated in a different way with a simple gathering.

Tenants Annie and Wiki were keen to get everyone together so they could get to know each other better.

Senior Tenancy Manager Julianne, who has managed the complex for several years, said it was the first time some of the residents had met each other.

“When I took over this complex there were a lot of issues, predominantly around parking,” she said.

“Having the residents come together like this provides an excellent opportunity for them to get to know one another.”

Down in Wellington, children and adults painted “pots of paradise” and planted herbs and other greenery at the Te Māra complex in Mount Cook.

Community Development Manager Lyn Hollands said their Neighbours Day festivities were important to bring the community together after we took over management of the 104 units late last year.

No RSVP was required, so the team was pleasantly surprised to see about 50 people turn up on the day.

“We even had a neighbour who didn’t live at Te Māra bring some toys over for children to play with,” Lyn said.

“We thought it was just incredible that she did that.”

Front, L-R: Tenancy Mangers Maree, Anna, Iloga, Atama. Second row: Pelesia, Francis, STM – Julianne, Gutu, Annie, Miss Jeanette

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From Christchurch, with thanks

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Two of our staff have been instrumental in helping our Housing New Zealand community navigate the terror attacks on two Christchurch mosques. As a show of gratitude, each was gifted some pounamu.

Left: Mohammed chats with Liz about the pounamu. Right: Regional Manager Jackie, right, gifted Ahmad his pounamu.

Ahmad and Mohammed were hurting – for their friends, their Muslim community and New Zealand. It was a moment where all would have understood the need for time away from work.

Instead, the pair, ordinarily based at Housing New Zealand’s Wellington and Auckland offices, did the opposite. They jumped at the chance to travel to Christchurch and make a difference.

Ahmad would eventually learn two of his friends were victims of the terror attacks on Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid. For Mohammed, like many, there was a sense of loss in a community with which he was closely connected.

“It’s not just the Muslim community, but everyone else is finding it difficult to digest this and just a simple act of kindness – just coming up and talking to someone – [makes a difference],” Customer Support Advisor Mohammed says.

“We’ve had friends and Muslim colleagues in Christchurch who’ve just got random hugs, you know, from strangers. That, in itself, shows who we are as New Zealanders. We’re kind, caring people.”

L-R: Area Manager Tim, Assistant Regional Manager Liz, Customer Support Advisor Mohammed and Area Manager Fraser

Over two weeks in Christchurch, the pair worked with staff to help them support grieving tenants. Four Housing New Zealand families have had to come to terms with the death of loved ones.

Ahmad and Mohammed also gave presentations about Islam to those working in the Christchurch office. It was a chance to share their culture and beliefs, and both identified the positivity that could come from a moment of such darkness.

At Housing New Zealand offices, “you’ll see people of different races, different nationalities,” Ahmad, a Capacity and Availability Manager, says.

“This is about opening up ourselves to other cultures as well … this is one of the better outcomes of this whole event.

“There’ll be the sadness, the anger, but … we will learn from this that to get to know everyone is a lot better.”

Liz, Assistant Regional Manager for the Wellington and Southern region, said Mohammed and Ahmad “truly epitomised” Housing New Zealand’s values.

“Their patience, kindness and compassion for our tenants, our staff and the wider community, was astonishing,” Liz says.

Both Ahmad and Mohammed remain humble about how they have impacted staff and customers affected by the attack. Each is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.

If Mohammed could ensure people took one message away from his work in Christchurch, it would be for them to “find out just a little bit” about Islam. That went for people of all cultures and beliefs, too.

“It doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough for you to understand and be able to have a dialogue with a Muslim colleague, Muslim friend or someone who’s been affected.”

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Giving new graduates a chance in the industry

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Seven new recruits have joined the inaugural Housing New Zealand graduate programme.

Back row: Josh Chemis, Kelsey Elliot and Jackson Munn. Front row: Emily Old, Ophelea Hawthorn, Hannah Shingler and Jimmy Atkin

After one month on the job, the graduates are thriving as they apply their university learning in the industry.

Five graduates selected for the 18 month programme have been placed in the Asset Development Group, with the two others joining the Asset Management team.

They will alternate roles about every three months, gaining exposure to parts of the business such as planning, urban design, project management and tenancy and property management.

Asset Development General Manager Patrick Dougherty says that adding a graduate programme at HNZ is a great way to give young people a chance in the industry.

“Housing New Zealand is currently going through a period of growth. Because of the scale and pace of our development programme, we were pleased to be able to add graduates to teams this year.

“We’ve been really impressed with the way the graduates have settled into their roles, bringing with them an eagerness to learn and a very welcomed fresh perspective,” Patrick says.

The graduates say they see huge benefit in being able to try their hand at different roles.

It helps them decide what area of housing development they want to hone in on in their next role.

Jimmy, who is currently working in project management, says, “After only one month the graduate programme is already giving me a better idea of the direction I want to go in my future career.

“I’m particularly enjoying how diverse the projects are, and that’s something that is very unique to Housing New Zealand.”

The graduates have been paired with an experienced mentor and will attend a monthly hui on a range of topics relating to their work and how other business groups operate.

The positive working environment at HNZ has made the graduates feel very supported in their new roles.

“Even though this is our first role in the industry, we don’t feel intimidated at all. It’s great to feel like our ideas are heard and respected and that we are contributing already,” says Hannah, who is working in the planning team.

Current university students who are doing a property, building or construction degree are encouraged keep an eye out for more information about the 2020 graduate programme in August.

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Blessing paves the way for new Marfell homes

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Progress on the building of 68 modern, quality, affordable new homes in New Plymouth took another step with the blessing of the Marfell site on 21 March.

L-R: Kaumatua; Reverend Albie Martin; Patrick Dougherty and Renee Regal (Housing New Zealand), Shaun Biesiek (New Plymouth District Council Councillor)

The blessing paved the way for Housing New Zealand to begin construction on these KiwiBuild homes which is a major piece in rejuvenating the housing stock in the Marfell suburb.

The three and four bedroom homes will also provide first home buyers with an opportunity to get on the property ladder.

The first of the homes are expected to be completed  from mid-2019 onwards.

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Whanaungatanga out West

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

The Albionvale neighbourhood in West Auckland say their Neighbours Day 2019 was a day their community won’t forget.

The sausage sizzle was a huge hit at the Albionvale Neighbours Day

The kaupapa for their event was to promote whanaungatanga within community—that means developing a sense of kinship or family connection through shared experiences.

To do this the local community, along with Tenancy Managers Dominic and Lusia from Housing New Zealand, put on a “Sunday fun-day” for the Albionvale whānau.

The community enjoyed a day of old school games like tug of war, gutterball and Rippa Rugby, a sausage sizzle with all the trimmings, fantastic face painting, chilled tunes from a professional DJ, and much more.

Rachel, one of the tenants who helped to organise the event, says that a thriving community means so much to residents because Albionvale isn’t just a place where they live.

“This is a place where we grow and build one another up, and a place where our children, and children’s children, are able to find themselves,” she says.

Tenant Tania enjoyed meeting new people from a range of cultures and backgrounds, particularly some of the Muslim families in the neighbourhood after the recent tragic events in Christchurch.

Community Constable Heber came along to the event to help the community to get to know each other safely as they enjoyed the kai and interactive games.

“Albionvale is a neighbourhood of people with commonalities across different cultures, Heber says, “Events like Neighbours Day allow people to express themselves without fear or rejection, in harmony with each other.”

The event was a huge success thanks to help from the New Zealand Police, Tegel, Sport Waitakere, Spencer Henshaw Limited, Countdown Kelston, Fresh Choice Glen Eden, Hirepool, DJ Flip-the-Script and West Halal Meats.

Left: Rudi from Sport Waitakere donated lots of activities for the community to enjoy. Middle: The children loved getting their faces painted for Neighbours Day 2019. Right: The kids enjoyed some old-school tug-of-war fun

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Everybody needs good neighbours

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Housing New Zealand tenants are leading a variety of events designed to bring people together for Neighbours Day Aotearoa 2019.

Tenants have registered about 50 Neighbours Day events ranging from such things as movie nights to street parties, barbecues, gardening activities, clean ups, sharing a cup of tea and pot luck meals.

Community Development Manager Karen says Housing New Zealand staff members are supporting local events across the country.

“We want to thank all the staff members that have got behind the idea of helping with tenant-led Neighbours Day initiatives across the country. We’ve taken this approach to Neighbours Day this year because we want tenants to feel empowered to be actively involved in the event planning.”

Getting to know your neighbours is an important part of building safer, more connected communities, Karen says.

“It fosters a sense of wellbeing, helps people feel that they belong and reduces loneliness. If you know your neighbour, you feel more comfortable having a chat over the fence or in the stairwell. That way you are also more likely to go to them if you need a hand with something.

“Housing New Zealand has been involved in Neighbours Day activities for several years. This year we are excited to be increasing our support by becoming a strategic partner,” Karen says.

Neighbours Day Aotearoa coordinator Cissy Rock says it’s a great fit to be partnering with Housing New Zealand. “We are all about connecting people in communities and the more ways we can encourage people in the community to get to know each other the better. That’s why we are excited to work with organisations like Housing New Zealand.”

Neighbours Day Aotearoa is a collaborative campaign organised and supported by Lifewise, Inspiring Communities, The Mental Health Foundation, Christchurch Methodist Mission, New Zealand Red Cross, Neighbourhood Support New Zealand and Housing New Zealand. This year the event has been expanded to run over ten days from 22 to 31 March 2019. More information here: http://neighboursday.org.nz

HNZ staff members Senior Security Advisor Jason, Community Development Manager Karen, Communications Advisor Issie and Ellerslie Tenancy Manager Nadia.

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Kai and crafts bring communities together for Neighbours Day

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Hundreds of Housing New Zealand tenants from across the country came together to connect with their neighbours to celebrate Neighbours Day 2019.

The new pātaka kai (neighbourhood pantry) created by residents

Tenants have organised about 50 Neighbours Day events from last Friday to the end of March, ranging from movie nights to street parties, barbecues, gardening activities, clean ups, sharing a cup of tea and pot luck meals.

At Felix Street in Onehunga in Auckland over 50 neighbours gathered for a BBQ lunch, community clean up and launched their pātaka kai – a neighbourhood pantry.

Tenants Malaina and Tina who helped organise the event said it was amazing to see their neighbours laughing together, sharing food and making quick work of cleaning up their neighbourhood using two skip bins that were provided by HNZ.

In Papakura, residents at the McLennan development held a finger food feast, where everyone was welcome to come and share food and try their hand at some creative arts and crafts. People painted rocks to hide in the pocket parks as part of a treasure hunt, and upcycled bags from old t-shirts, while learning to be more clean and green.

A couple who just moved into the neighbourhood only five days ago said the event made them feel really welcome and at home.

Children painted special Neighbours Day rocks for a treasure hunt

“It’s so easy to stay in a house and not interact with people. This activity is a really good ice breaker, with the rock paining too”, says Sayumi.

These two events are a great example of HNZ tenants collaborating with the wider community to organise some fun events that encourage connections between neighbours.

HNZ’s Community Development Team believes getting to know your neighbours is an important part of building safer, more connected communities.

“It fosters a sense of wellbeing, helps people feel that they belong and reduces loneliness”, Community Development Manager Karen says.

“If you know your neighbour, you feel more comfortable having a chat over the fence or in the stairwell, which is a good starting point to help build relationships with those living nearby.”

Over the next week, HNZ tenants throughout the country will participate in more tenant-led Neighbours Day events, continuing to foster thriving neighbourhoods.

Neighbours Day Aotearoa is a collaborative campaign organised and supported by:

  • Lifewise
  • Inspiring Communities
  • The Mental Health Foundation
  • Christchurch Methodist Mission
  • New Zealand Red Cross
  • Neighbourhood Support New Zealand and
  • Housing New Zealand.

This year the event has been expanded to run over ten days from 22 to 31 March 2019.

More information here: http://neighboursday.org.nz

Children enjoying the fun activities at Felix Street in Onehunga

Children getting crafty at the McLennan development Papakura

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Kia Kaha Christchurch

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

We show care, acceptance and cultural respect to all tenants from a diverse range of nationalities and religions. We welcome people and provide them a warm, safe and dry place to call home.

We hold aroha in our hearts for the people who have been killed and injured and the family and friends they have left behind.

Support services

If you or anyone you know needs support or more information the services below may be helpful to you.

Work and Income

If you’ve been affected by the Christchurch tragedy, or need to travel there because of it, The Ministry of Social Development may be able to help – even if you’re not on a benefit.

View their website or you can also call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997.

ACC

Whether you’ve been injured in the Christchurch attacks or have lost a loved one, ACC are here to help. They will work with you and your family to make sure you get the help you need – whether you live in New Zealand or overseas. View their website.

Immigration NZ

For information about Visa’s for the families of victims. View their website.

National Telehealth Service

1737 – A free 24/7 phone and text service available to anyone feeling anxious, overwhelmed or just needing to have a chat. View their website.

Christchurch City Council

The latest news, updates and information on planned events happening in Christchurch. View their website.

Your Housing New Zealand home

If you have any questions about your tenancy with Housing New Zealand, you can contact our Customer Services Centre on 0800 801 601. The line is open 8am-6pm Monday to Friday or 24/7 for urgent calls.

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New partnership opens doors

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation

Weltec and Whitireia Polytechnic trade students are putting their carpentry skills to good use by building new state housing for families.

Preparing the team for unloading the new homes

Forty-seven new 2-bedroom homes will be built over the next five years thanks to a new partnership between Weltec/Whitireia and Housing New Zealand.

The new warm and dry houses will be built by trade students on the Weltec and Whitireia campuses.

Prisoners engaged in Weltec trade training at Rimutaka Prison will also produce one new house per year as part of the programme.

Two new 3-bedroom homes have already been completed as part of this partnership, one of which was built behind the wire at Rimutaka Prison and the other at the Whitireia campus last year. These two new homes have just been delivered to a vacant Housing New Zealand site in Porirua and will be available for families to move in by mid-2019.

As the new homes are completed they will be transported by truck to various sites in the Wellington region or further afield.

“The new homes are opening doors for both those who built them and those who will have a new home for their families,” says Jonathan, Programme Director, Housing New Zealand.

“We have a lot of demand for new state housing across the country and this partnership will help Housing New Zealand deliver more modern, warm and dry homes for those in need,” says Jonathan.

WelTec Chief Executive Chris Gosling says the partnership is promising for both students and the community.

“This is a great recognition of the quality of the outputs from our construction school. I’m very excited that our students will be producing high quality and affordable housing, at the same time as they gain valuable industry experience.”

“The partnership means our students are able to build homes that are market-ready, and can be delivered into communities that are most in need of housing. That’s a really motivating thought for someone learning a trade,” says Chris.

“The Rimutaka house builders are proud to be part of this initiative. The houses they’re building represent a positive future for them through the skills and qualifications they’re gaining, as well as for the families who will live in them,” says Rimutaka Assistant Prison Director Kym Grierson.

The two homes arrive on site

The two homes arrive on site

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