Kaitaia rent to own scheme touted as solution to housing crisis

A Kaitaia housing project that sees homeless families rent to own their own home is being touted as a solution the housing crisis.

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He Korowai Trust is taking state houses set for demolition and using them to house those in need. Source: 1 NEWS

He Korowai Trust is taking state houses set for demolition and using them to house those in need.

Hayleigh Tata-Te Hira lived in a car for four months before moving into the site in the Northland town.

Ms Tata-Te Hira, the single mother of six is one of 18 homeless families that have moved into the village and are on track to owning their own home.

“It’s an opportunity for people to break free of the shackles of state housing dependence and hop onto home ownership,” said Ms Tata-Te Hira.

Ricky Houghton rescued the former state houses from Auckland that were set for demolition and brought them to Kaitaia to set up the community four years ago.

Mr Houghton started with nine houses and now has 23 - including eight tiny homes for singles.

“They’ve generally got a suitcase, we take them off the footpath and generally transition them along the pipeline from emergency transition housing into longer term accommodation and then into home ownership,” said Mr Houghton.

He Korowai Trust also runs the homeless shelter in Kaitaia where there is currently a waiting list because all 37 rooms are full.

“The housing shortage in Kaitaia is chronic and it’s getting worse, we have a lot of families coming back from Auckland, we have a lot of overcrowding,” said Mr Houghton.

Six hundred Far North families currently live in Government housing and another 124 on the waiting list.

The Tafua family struggled to find a place to live after moving home from Australia.

They now have a home of their own thanks to He Korowai Trust.

“We were living with my parents, there were 11 of us in a four-bedroom home.”

The community is drug and alcohol free and has social support services, including addiction support, childcare and a trade school.