Council says pensioner housing sale will be positive for Horowhenua
All Horowhenua District Council’s pensioner housing tenants will remain and gain access to regular nurse visits and other new services as a result of the pending sale of the 115 units to experienced community housing provider Compassion Housing Ltd.
There will be an equal shareholding between the Sisters of Compassion and Willis Bond & Co private investors. The two have a long standing relationship.
The Sisters of Compassion have been providing services to the elderly for over 100 years. For the past 17 years they have owned and managed pensioner housing in Upper Hutt. The Sisters other activities include the Compassion soup kitchen facility in Wellington which has been operating since 1901, a rest home and hospital and Alzheimers unit in Upper Hutt, a learning and spiritual centre in Jerusalem near Whanganui, , a home for women with disabilities in Fiji.
Two weeks ago, Council’s pensioner housing tenants attended a presentation and met with Sister Margaret Anne Mills, the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Compassion, along with Compassion Housing chief executive Gerard McGreevy, and Compassion Housing board member and Willis Bond director David McGuinness.
Sister Margaret said that with its collective expertise, Compassion Housing delivers sustainable, affordable, inclusive, comfortable, pleasant, high-quality housing.
“Horowhenua’s pensioner housing fits our mission. We are here for the people who occupy the units. It’s all about the tenants,” she said.
“Having a base in Horowhenua is a natural fit for us. We regularly pass through Horowhenua while travelling between Wellington, Whanganui and Hawkes Bay. We are already familiar with the cafes and op shops in Levin, Foxton and Shannon, but now have more important reasons to stop.”
Compassion Housing’s Chief Executive Gerard McGreevy said their mission and long-term commitment is to provide community housing for the elderly in need of it, and not to move into the commercial property market.
“The family behind Willis Bond share in our mission and have had a very philanthropic relationship with the Sisters of Compassion for decades.”
David McGuinness, a Willis Bond director and a Compassion Housing board member for 10 years, said that Horowhenua’s pensioner housing will be a Compassion Housing project.
“We at Willis Bond feel privileged to be associated with the Sisters of Compassion. They are a very stable financial entity in their own right, but we are just there in the background to provide financial support, as we have private investors with strong interests in social investment.”
Mr McGuinness said he guaranteed that Horowhenua’s pensioner housing would remain as pensioner housing.
“There is no intention to sell any units. In fact, in time we intend to develop more pensioner housing, and there is the opportunity to do that with the land available. It will be a very positive outcome for the community,” he said.
Horowhenua District Council’s Chief Executive David Clapperton says the pending sale to Compassion Housing means that the provision of affordable housing for the elderly can continue in a sustainable way and without a large burden to ratepayers.
Mr Clapperton said that Council and Compassion Housing are committed to a long-standing relationship.
“Council is committed to taking a leadership role in advocating and facilitating for wider community issues with regard to accessibility and affordability of quality housing,” he said.