The Waikato Housing Initiative (WHI) is a cross-sectoral group working toward our vision:
“Every person and every family in the Waikato region is well-housed*, living in sustainable, flourishing and connected communities”. (*We have included the UN rights to adequate housing entitlements in our definition. ‘Well-housed’ means timely access to habitable, affordable, accessible, culturally appropriate, appropriately located, and with security of tenure housing.’)
Charitable Status & Purpose:
In the later part of 2021, it was suggested to the Waikato Housing Initiative (WHI) that they set themselves up as a Charity to assist with sourcing funding to enable achievement of the WHI purpose. On 15 December 2021 WHI was approved as a registered Charity.
There are currently three Trustees: Lale Ieremia (Co-Chair), Nic Greene (Co-Chair) and Thomas Gibbons (Trustee). These three trustees come with a range of knowledge and expertise in housing, community, land, affordability, legislation, policy and governance. Others remain involved at the Leadership Group level.
WHI has the following charitable purpose:
- To lead and facilitate the development of strategies, frameworks, policies, initiatives, funding and developments that ensure that:
- the Community has a well-functioning housing system that meets the diverse needs of the people and families in the Community;
- affordable, quality homes are accessible in the Community;
- housing in the Community is of sufficient quality to protect the health and wellbeing of the people and families in the Community;
- The relief of poverty in the Community, including by seeking to ensure that every person and every family in the Community is:
- Well-housed and has access to housing that is habitable, affordable, accessible, culturally appropriate, appropriately located, and with adequate security of tenure; and
- Living in sustainable, flourishing and connected Communities;
- To work together in partnership with Iwi, hapu, whanau and Māori Communities to develop strategies for Māori Housing, honoring the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi;
- The advancement of education to persons and organizations within the Community by providing leadership and training programs, workshops and seminars which will enable those persons and organization within the Community to access housing (whether emergency, social, assisted rental, private rental, assisted ownership or private ownership) in order to meet the social, emotional and physical needs of the Community;
- The relief of poverty by providing advisory services, advocacy and programs to persons and organizations involved in the provision of developing and delivering the framework the reduce the economic disparities and social disparities with affordable, quality and accessible homes in the Community for the relief of poverty.
We are sad to announce that Lui Brame, Interim Executive Officer has stepped down from his role to focus on other projects. The WHI were very fortunate to be able to have Lui step into this role to facilitate the creation of the Datalake and movement of the WHI into its next stages.
WHI is in the process of recruiting a new Executive Officer to fill the space left by Lui. We hope to announce the new EO before the end of the year.
The WHI also welcome Gill Henderson to the team as Administration Support. She comes with an extensive background in administration and a passion for the work that WHI is committed to.
Wrap of 2022:
2022 has been a year of development for WHI. There have been a number of initiatives happening in the background, foremost the development of substantial relationships with many different organizations, such as local councils, central government, iwi, business leaders, developers, and community groups.
The Scorecard is a joint collaboration between Deloittes and the WHI. It provides a facility to run future developments through a range of areas to assess the feasibility of the project against the WHI purpose.
Many collaborative meetings have happened in 2022, including with Kaainga Ora, Bridge Trust, Perry Group, Fosters, Te Awa Lakes, Te Waka, Hamilton City Council, District Councils, Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon and team, Salvation Army, Beyond 2025 Southland, Mayoral Forum, Waikato Plan, Momentum, Habitat for Humanity, Sleepyhead, Ministry for Pacific People, Tainui, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure, WEL Energy Trust, Waikato Wellbeing Project, K’aute Pasifica, Deloitte.
At a policy level, submissions have been made on plan changes to encourage integrated affordability and to promote inclusionary zoning as an affordable housing tool.
What’s Happening in 2023:
With the new EO up to speed, the WHI will be working in a more forward-facing way, with increased presentations, education, development and collaboration within the Affordable Housing space.
Further approaches to funding will also be explored, with financial support to be sourced from many different arenas, including from philanthropic means.
A strong working relationship with the new Councils will allow for understanding and support to flow in both directions.
Overall, the Waikato Housing Initiative will continue to work hard to ensure the vision that “every person and every family in the Waikato region is well housed*, living in sustainable, flourishing and connected communities.”