Housing Minister Phil Heatley has congratulated Housing New Zealand’s Canterbury tenancy services team on its success at the annual Australasian Housing Institute Awards in Sydney.
The Canterbury team received the Australasian Centre Practice Award for Professional Excellence in Housing and was highly commended for its achievements at a time when team members were themselves affected by the major earthquakes that occurred between September 2010 and December 2011.
“This is on top of their earlier successes, winning two awards from the Institute’s New Zealand section for their work during and after the earthquakes,” Mr Heatley said.
After the 22 February earthquake, the most vulnerable tenants were all contacted within 48 hours and clients with special needs were given the highest priority. Where necessary, tenants were moved and within a week staff had generated more than 3,000 offers of temporary accommodation, including places for non-Housing New Zealand families.
Tenancy services teams co-ordinated their rescue work with other agencies during the most difficult and traumatic periods.
“This was just the immediate response. This year, the corporation’s commitment to the Canterbury rebuild has seen 212 damaged properties repaired on schedule and within budget. They are now being re-tenanted.
“The accolade from the Australasian Housing Institute to the staff who worked so hard right after the earthquakes is very well deserved,” Mr Heatley said.
Other corporation projects in Christchurch include building 200-350 new houses on land it owns around Christchurch, the Minister said. The first round of tenders has closed and construction of the first homes through this programme is expected to start in mid to late 2013.
This is in addition to housing provided by the mixed tenure development initiative announced recently, which will begin with the corporation's property at 399 Manchester Street.
The corporation is also providing 17 of its houses on TC3 land for a series of trials to find quicker and more affordable options for repairing property foundations, to start within the next two months.