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Housing advice for Cantabrians

A service set up to solve Christchurch’s housing shortage has a growing list of would-be tenants, its organiser says.

By Susan Edmunds

Sue Robinson founded the Canterbury Affordable Housing Trust and has opened a free advice line for residents looking for somewhere to live.

Her proposal is to subside housing by head-leasing properties under the trust, renting them out at pre-earthquake affordable levels and off-setting the cost.

Robinson said the Government response to her idea had been muted. “Other than the public denial of any crisis or rental issue in Canterbury.”

But she said the number of people who’d contacted her office showed there was a need – 20 in the first two weeks and growing all the time.

“I have a growing list of people looking for reasonably priced rentals and landlords looking for the catch to listing available properties for free.”

She said it was hard to gauge the true size of the housing problem.

City councilors and Labour’s earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel have spoken out in support of the plan.

Labour's housing spokeswoman said there was a bigger problem than the Government was acknowledging.

“What we have is the bizarre spectacle of one Government Minister encouraging homeless Cantabrians to squat in abandoned red-zoned properties, while the Minister of Housing and Minister of Earthquake Recovery denies there is a crisis at all."

She said the Government should make vacant state house available.

“There are 701 state houses described by Housing New Zealand as ‘vacant pending development’ in Christchurch. It is time for the Government to lead the way by making these houses available for desperate people."

Robinson said: “We are working to offer a matchmaking service to ensure no one is left without accommodation. We have a number of initiatives around the immediate critical needs, with a long term focus on development and increasing the supply of housing in the future.  The lack of funds is frustrating to be able to implement it.”

Those needing help or wanting to list available houses can contact or call 03 318 1355.

Tags: sue robinson - lianne dalziel