Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 and lockdowns this year, one of the country’s leading social housing providers has achieved a number of significant milestones.
Chief Executive of the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust, Cate Kearney says it’s the mahi and dedication of the ŌCHT team that has led to such positive feedback from Tenants, as well as keeping the work programme on track.
“The ŌCHT team had 13,610 calls with our Tenants during Levels 4, 3 and 2. We really ramped-up communications to keep tenants informed and to help our communities keep safe, and we believe this has been instrumental in 92% of Tenants being satisfied with our approach, as our annual Tenant Satisfaction Survey has recently revealed,” she says.
Kearney says Trust staff worked through the lockdowns to continue delivering essential services to the more than 2300 people they support.
“This was particularly important regarding the heat pump installation programme (Warm & Dry Initiative) which resulted in 2020 of them being installed on time. Our satisfaction survey has found that 93% of people are satisfied with their new heat pump, and 84% agree their house is warm and weathertight,” she says. “Our satisfaction survey says we’re doing a great job in many other areas. Our levels of service measures met all targets, and 82% of people were satisfied with the quality of the tenancy service we provide – the highest percentage since 2015.”
The Warm & Dry Initiative aims to have all homes meeting the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards around 18 months ahead of the July 2023 deadline.
Cate Kearney says the Trust’s new Hastings St East homes were a day away from opening when lockdown put a halt to their building programme. Contractors clawed back lost time and ŌCHT’s Tīwaiwaka Lane’s Homestar 6 rated homes opened in July, just three days later than planned, and the repurposed Reg Stillwell Place homes opened on time in late November.
In 2020, ŌCHT provided 59 new homes, and more are on the way.
In January next year, the first 28 of 90 homes at 356-402 Brougham St will open as part of the biggest NGO-led housing development of its kind in New Zealand. There will be two more stages of double storey Homestar 7 rating being opened over the next 5 months at the Brougham Street site, bringing the total of new homes to 90.
“The homes replace 89 community housing units that occupied the site before they were demolished after the Canterbury earthquakes,” says Ms Kearney. “They’ll be 2, 3 and 4-bedroom homes and will be made up of three individual communities with green spaces, edible gardens, communal spaces and e-bikes enhancing community life.