Couple seal deal for social housing

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A new type of social housing will soon be available in Ashburton, thanks to the generosity of local couple Jamie and Tania Dalzell.

Mr and Mrs Dalzell’s company, Dalzell West Coast Ltd, has bought a six-bedroom house in Miller Avenue and will work with Presbyterian Support to find tenants for the communal house.

The house once served as an Idea Services home run by the IHC.

From October 3 it will become a home for people middle aged and over, both individuals or couples, who have had difficulty finding affordable housing in the town.

Jackie Girvan, Presbyterian Support Upper South Island regional manager for Ashburton, said their organisation received one or two inquiries each week from people in crisis looking for accommodation.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity. We’ve been working in this space for a long time and have struggled to make traction,” she said.

Presbyterian Support had tried to buy the property but was unsuccessful.

Tenants of the house would pay a weekly rental, including electricity costs.

“They could be long-term tenants or they could be there while they find something which suits them better,”Mrs Girvan said.

The house will be fully furnished with tenants only needing to supply bedding, personal toiletries, washing powder and food.

Mrs Girvan said sharing accommodation would have other benefits for the tenants, such as companionship and security.

Mr Dalzell said following publicity when Mrs Girvan unsuccessful approached the Ashburton District Council seeking funds for social housing, he decided to purchase a property.

“The council shouldn’t give money to it (social housing) – it should be up to private enterprise,” he said.

While Mr and Mrs Dalzell will retain ownership of the house, Presbyterian Support will oversee the tenants.

Mr and Mrs Dalzell, who have lived in Ashburton for 15 years after moving from Runanga, operate the Coronation Holiday Park and Motels.

Work had begun on insulating and double glazing the property and two additional bedrooms are being added.

The house will have a large communal lounge/kitchen.

The chief executive of Presbyterian Support Upper South Island, Vaughan Milner, said the initiative was a response to an ongoing issue around accommodation in the Ashburton District.

“We’re pleased to support it.”