52-unit apartment block designed for community
Fifty nine people are moving off the Social Housing Register and into a brand new home, with the opening of a new
Salvation Army housing complex in Royal Oak, Auckland.
On Friday, November 8, the 52-unit apartment block will be officially opened. Soon after, 59 tenants – some of whom have
been on the Social Housing Register for up to five years – will move in.
Funded by The Salvation Army, a $4m Government grant and loans, the apartment block is designed to give people the
security of a home, while also growing a community.
The Salvation Army National Director of Social Housing Greg Foster says the aim of the complex was to utilise the Mt
Albert Road space in the best possible way to create a feeling of community.
The Salvation Army chose Mace project management group, Designgroup Stapleton Elliott as the architect and McMillan
Lockwood Builders, and the finished concept includes spacious one and two-bedroom apartments, green spaces, a community
garden, and “bump spaces” – areas where people will naturally meet each other.
“We wanted to utilise the space to the best of our ability, but also wanted space so people would become part of a
community,” Mr Foster says.
A hall, including an office for a tenancy manager and chaplain, are also part of the complex. The Salvation Army will
continue to offer a range of wraparound services for the tenants.
Mr Foster says the apartment block is close to transport, a shopping centre, “and some of the apartments have fantastic
views over Auckland”.
“It’s the sort of place you’d be happy for your mother to live in,” he says.
The tenants will shortly begin moving into their homes – for many, the only home they’ve been able to rent.
The Salvation Army had more than 700 referrals for the unit – an indication of the huge demand for social housing in
Auckland, and throughout Aotearoa.
Mr Foster says The Salvation Army is doing what it can to tackle this demand.
“Four years ago we were creating a lot of noise in the media about the housing crisis. To the credit of the Army, we
decided to do something about it,” he says.
“The Salvation Army dug deep and made it happen.”
Tenant case studies:
For Tania Shelford and Rana Graham, having a home of their own is an important step towards achieving their goals of
With no jobs and no references the couple, who are on the unemployment benefit, were unable to find rental
accommodation. Debt incurred from high-interest loans had given Tania a bad credit rating: also a mark against a
The couple have previously lived on the streets of Auckland, a tough and demoralising experience.
“It really makes you feel down,” Tania says.
“You’ve got nowhere to go, no family to rely on; you really just have to be strong.”
From there, Tania and Rana were housed in emergency accommodation, and have been living in a motel unit.
They both volunteer with The Salvation Army in Royal Oak, and have been watching the apartment block going up next door
They attend church at The Salvation Army Massey, and it was there they heard they could apply to rent a unit in the new
When Salvation Army Senior Tenancy Manager Jasmine Herewini called to say they had been successful, Tania says they were
“We were really happy,” Tania says.
“Me and my partner have never had a place of our own. We see it as a chance to build for our future and we’re really
grateful to The Salvation Army.”
That future includes getting jobs, with Rana soon to complete his truck driver licence training through The Salvation
Army. Tania hopes to study, and work in hospitality.
Tania says they want to keep giving back, and will continue volunteering with The Salvation Army.
James Waldron says applying for private rental accommodation while on a sickness benefit is pretty much pointless.
His last rental was sold by the landlord and he found, with no job and no references, he wasn’t hearing back about any
of the properties he applied for.
Now living back with his mum, James is looking forward to his move to Royal Oak in December.
A recovering addict, he says living in a substance-free environment with wraparound support available will help him move
on to a better life.
“It will be good to be more settled,” James says.
“It will hopefully give me more confidence.”
The Salvation Army Royal Oak housing development will be officially opened at 9.30am on Friday, November 8, 2019.
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