Following on from Part one – https://oursocialhousing.nz/news/are-we-critical-enough-of-ocht/
I have been so busy recently I hardly have time to follow up. Rhombus on Acheson is now open following months of hard work by the team, a restored community asset in Mairehau and I’ve been busy site clearing at my own home for a craft studio for Joanna (my wife) and building a ‘boys space’ in the loft. So I kinda owe Bruce Rendall (HEAD OF FACILITIES PROPERTY AND PLANNING at CCC) a bit of an apology because this post has been very slow in coming, unlike his response to my last post (which I personally invited).
Bruce offered some corrections to my last post, so I rang him and said that rather than just correct my post I would share his email. We also had an interesting conversation about social housing ownership issues, but that will be the subject of my next post…
I’d like to point out that I emailed Bruce at Friday, 12 March 2021 10:42 PM and he responded Monday, 15 March 2021 12:40 PM. I point this out because there is a constant narrative that CCC are poor to respond to queries and that EVERY staff member in the building is useless and should be replaced, which is simply untrue, unfair and frankly angers me some days. I’m not going to claim that Bruce is perfect, hell I have no idea, I hardly know this guy, but he is a very constant and consistent voice on social housing and spokes person in the media who engages and response quickly (frankly faster than I do!)
Just a few points:
1st paragraph: The statement “so housing tenants could address the government IRRS” could confuse. Tenants can’t access the IRRS, however, certain social landlords can. Tenants benefit through paying Income Related Rents (see https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/housing/live-in-home/live-in-public-housing/index.html) and the landlord receives a subsidy (The IRRS)
1st paragraph: The sentence be interpreted as me saying that CCC was underinsured. This isn’t something that I’ve researched so I can’t make this statement. I’d also suggest that there were quality and financial sustainability problems before the earthquakes (I have done some research on this and would point to some of the work around the proposed 2008 rent increase). It might be better to stop at “poor”.
2nd Paragraph: This paragraph is a bit confusing. OCHT needs to be a separate entity (https://legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2014/0116/latest/DLM6013922.html) if it is to be eligible for IRRS. Staff have worked hard to ensure that Councillors, tenants and the community understand that OCHT is a separate organisation, independent of Council (despite the requirements of public sector accounting). Council cannot direct OCHT or require it to do anything outside of the contractual requirements contained in the lease and loan documents. Council’s role is no longer a social housing provider – rather we are a property owner, with a commercial lease that allows OCHT to provide social housing.
2nd Paragraph: Yes, the legislation could change but I don’t believe that this is likely to be for the reasons stated. I would suspect that the Government would be more focused on how the community sector can grow social housing through the provision of new builds. OCHT is showing that it is contributing in this space (eg https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/real-estate/124522429/more-new-homes-are-being-built-in-christchurch–but-theyre-getting-smaller).
There are a couple of typos as well – fowl (foul) and woka (waka)
MY TAKE ON THIS…
I did correct the typos. Thanks Bruce for the feedback!