Council's Work with Tenants is Hailed a Success

11 December 2009

Wellington City Council has scooped a national award for its work with the tenants of housing complexes that are being upgraded.

The Council won the award for Leading Housing Solutions at the recent Australasian Housing Institute awards (New Zealand territory).

Councillor Ngaire Best, the Council's Social Portfolio Leader, says the award is an important recognition of the Council's collaboration with tenants as work begins on upgrading all of the Council's social housing over the next 20 years.

"Hundreds of tenants who live at the first nine sites targeted for upgrade are already actively involved in developing new designs for their buildings, including attending workshops with the architects," Cr Best says.

Tenants are also having input into making housing complexes safer, setting up shared facilities such as community gardens and implementing waste and recycling services.

Increasingly, tenants all over the city are organising their own recreational, educational and social activities at their housing complexes on a scale that hasn't been seen before. This has included shared meals, craft workshops, emergency preparedness education and recreational activities.

One of the biggest events of the year for tenants was the Bringing Health 2 U road show. A partnership between the Council's Community Action Team and 11 community and government agencies, the aim was to improve access to health and education services and information.

More than 500 tenants attended the event over three days at three large housing complexes. They had access to services including health assessments such as Plunket's B4 School Health Checks, oral health registrations and healthy cooking demonstrations.

Tenants are also able to attend free computer courses through a partnership with Wellington ICT and Microsoft at the Council's computer rooms at Arlington Apartments and Newtown Park Flats.

Senaka Settinayake, a tenant at Central Park who recently completed computer training, said: "I have lived at Central Park for 13 years and this is the best thing that's happened to me." Senaka, who is a fire warden at the flats, is keen to develop more skills so that he can give back to the community.

Council staff are also working closely with tenants who have to move out of their homes while work is done to upgrade their flats. This includes finding tenants a suitable Council flat to stay in while the work is done, advice about packing and assistance with transferring their utilities and redirecting their mail.

The first tenants to have their flats upgraded moved back into their new-look homes at Te Ara Hou Flats in Newtown recently. Next year, work will be completed on the remainder of Te Ara Hou and construction is scheduled to start at Central Park Flats, Hanson Court flats and Regent Park Flats in Newtown.