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Kainga Ora is is planning construction of 66 new houses in Dunedin at a cost of $20 million, in a bid to meet the city’s housing demand.
Twenty-seven existing properties will be knocked down and two sections will be subdivided to accommodate new social housing, in Brockville, Waikari and Mosgiel, and expected to be completed over 18 months.
The work is part of Kainga Ora’s national programme to tackle housing demand.
The latest Ministry of Social Development figures show more than 400 individuals or families on the waiting list for public housing in the Southern region in December.
Kainga Ora programme director Jonathan Scholes said the houses would be a mix of one, two and four-bedroom homes.
"It is important to note, however, that the total number of units could change, as all of these homes are at various stages of development and planning."
The average time for a house to be demolished was one week, followed by six to 12 months per build, "depending on the size and number of homes being built", he said.
The new homes would be built on a range of different sites, including houses needing to be vacated and then demolished, vacant sections, and infill development.
"Where a tenant is asked to move due to redevelopment, we begin discussions with them as soon as possible — usually after resource consents and business cases have been confirmed.
"We work with them to find a new Kainga Ora home that suits their needs. They also have the option of returning to the area at a later date."
A renovation of a block of social housing in Maitland St, in Dunedin - paused during Level 4 - was "progressing well", and the first building was hoped to be completed before the end of the year, Mr Scholes said.
Salvation Army Dunedin community ministries manager David McKenzie said it was "really good news".
"Sixty-six new homes is a great start. But we know we really need about 400 homes in Dunedin.
"It’s really about Government and local body and individuals seeing this right through, and continuing to take steps like these — we continue to need solutions in social housing."
He said the impact of Covid-19 was not yet known, but community agencies were "waiting with baited breath" to see how areas like housing would be impacted.