• VIDEO: New Kāinga Ora homes reconnect whānau with Maraenui community

VIDEO: New Kāinga Ora homes reconnect whānau with Maraenui community

A new housing development on Kelvin Place Maraenui will see whānau who have been in emergency accommodation, move into warm, dry and safe homes and reconnect with the community they come from.  

The 13 new homes unveiled this week are among 33 two, three and four-bedroom public housing that will be built on Kāinga Ora owned land across three sites in Marenui by the end of the year. 

Nine whānau moved into homes on Bledisloe Place in May, and a further eleven homes are expected to be completed in Percy Spiller Avenue.

The homes are being built by Hawke's Bay Construction and leased from the state housing agency by non-government organisation Emerge Aotearoa, which is contracted by Te Tūapapa Kura Kāinga, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. 

Kāinga Ora East North Island Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager Dale Grant said the homes are all public housing but will initially be used to meet the "urgent demand" for transitional housing.

"Transitional housing provides people in urgent need of housing with a warm, dry, safe place to live while they receive wraparound support services and help to find a more permanent place to live." 

Moana Paul, Emerge Aotearoa Central Region Housing Operations Manager, says through their "skilled navigators", they deliver a broad range of social services in a way that empowers people to achieve their goals and realise their potential.

"The navigators come in once a week and spend time with whānau to support them to become tenants by connecting them with community organisations that offer the supports that they need, whatever that support might be; for example, budgeting, connecting them with food parcels if that is required, or even just taking them to house viewings if transport is an issue." 

Moana says most of the people who will be occupying the homes initially will have come from motels where they "don't have the room" to have items such as tables and chairs.

"There aren't ovens in the motels, it's just the little heater units, so they don't have heaps of food, so we make sure there is a fridge, a washing machine, all the linen they need, beds, table and chairs and all the cutlery for the appropriate amount of whanau that are moving in." 

The home replace the street's state housing that was removed up to a decade ago. 

"This street used to be full of whanau and they became a community," Moana says.

"Then when the houses were removed, there wasn't a community anymore, so the thought behind placing specific whanau into this space is that they can reconnect with the community that they come from, the kids can go to the local Kura where they are enrolled, rather than having to drive from Hastings, for example, and it's just really good to bring them back to their support networks as well. 

A Napier street which was all-but emptied of its state-housing during widespread removal and demolition of the aging Crown stock seven to 10 years ago is full again with the opening of 13 new homes this week.

Dale says it is "awesome" to see the developments happening in Marenui. 

"It's been a while and we as Kāinga Ora locally are really happy that the developments are up and running with more to come."

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