Homes handed over for community use

Cabra managing director Ian Boocock, right, hands the keys for two brand new homes to Hibiscus Coast Community House chair Carol Laidlaw. The homes have been furnished with donations made to the community house. From left, Shirley Parker of Steps Forward, Community House manager Christine Alesbury and Age Concern Rodney chief executive Catherine Smith. The three organisations are working together to make the best use of the new homes.

Two newly built, three bedroom homes have been leased to the Hibiscus Coast Community House in a project designed to help locals in crisis.

The homes were built by local developers Cabra – one was designed specifically for older people and one for families. The company is leasing them to the community house at a peppercorn rental so that they can be used by the elderly and families in need of short-term emergency accommodation.

Handing over the keys on May 1, Cabra managing director Ian Boocock said it is the most significant community project that the company has worked on in the 30 years that it has been on the Hibiscus Coast.

There are conditions in the lease that ensure the occupants come from the local area, and that the homes are used for short-term accommodation only.

Community House manager Christine Alesbury says her organisation keeps hearing of families and individuals who need this – including those who may be living in garages or cars. The community house is working closely with Steps Forward and Age Concern Rodney and, as it’s a new initiative, sources of funding and how it will run are still being worked out.

Hibiscus Coast Community House chair Carol Laidlaw says that the community house will manage the houses but, crucially, the three organisations together will provide wrap around social services to help people get back on their feet during their stay.

She says the ongoing support of the community – including local businesses – will be vital if the scheme is to be successful. “We are still unsure how those wrap around services will be funded and that’s what we’re now looking into, including approaching larger businesses.”

“The biggest dilemma is finding sufficient funds to run these homes as, in order to qualify for Work & Income NZ funding, we would have to take people from all over New Zealand. However, it is important to all of us that this offers support only for the Hibiscus Coast so we have to find a way to make that work.”

She says the Orewa Theosophical Society has already given $1000 towards the project.

“I encourage our community to help us support this amazing gift with financial donations,” Carol says. “It really is a unique opportunity to support other locals who are having a difficult and stressful time.”
Info: phone the community house, 426 3598.