Southland Housing Action Forum (SHAF) is thrilled to announce that Habitat for Humanity Invercargill is the new owner of the Kew Bowl site after their tender was accepted by the Invercargill City Council.
SHAF submitted an expression of interest in January and were asked to then tender for the property. As SHAF is not a legally recognised entity, rather a community initiative, Habitat for Humanity submitted a tender instead, which has been accepted.
Habitat for Humanity Invercargill General Manager Paul Searancke said the intention was for Kew Bowl to be used for an affordable, mixed-use housing development to provide a range of housing from seniors to young families – to help combat widespread housing shortages in the city.
It would be made up of public housing, some 1st homebuyer homes, some secure tenure rentals and ‘for market’ sale homes, from a range of developers.
“We are very excited for the potential this site has to make a difference in such a tight housing climate. A community consultation process will begin at the end of June and run for two months to ensure the needs of the wider community are met,” he said.
They hoped to be turning dirt on stage one of the development in Summer, he said.
“We’re also looking forward to engaging with central government to explore the opportunities available.”
A partnership including the city council, community housing providers, social housing providers and developers would ensure the best interests of the Invercargill community were being looked after, Mr Searancke said.
SHAF Chair Shaun Drylie, who is also a Southland Chamber of Commerce Board Director and CEO of SBS Bank, said he was delighted the forum had been able to facilitate a major achievement within its first 12 months.
“It just shows that with community collaboration led by a strong, social-minded organisation like Habitat for Humanity, we can achieve great things,” he said.
SHAF comprised many central and local government politicians, the Southland Chamber of Commerce, SCHG, community funders and leaders – all with a social and community conscience that supported the future supply of quality housing in Invercargill, he said.
Drylie wanted to acknowledge the vision of the city council, and for walking the talk after passing a resolution in January to be more of an enabler of housing – recognising the extent of the issues facing the city.
Council Chief Executive Clare Hadley said there had been a clear desire from elected members to support and enable social/affordable housing providers.
“We are delighted that we have been able to fulfil that desire for the first time by confirming Habitat for Humanity, on behalf of SHAF, as the preferred purchaser of Kew Bowl.”