Dev Singh — A Good-Hearted Landlord Helping The Homeless

Dev Singh has bought several rental properties for the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) to house people who have long histories of homelessness, reports the DCM.

The DCM, which serves the Wellington region, quotes Dev Singh talking about the benefits and challenges of being a part of the DCM’s mahi.

Dev says: “I am originally from Fiji. I was born and grew up in Suva and I came to New Zealand about 35 years ago – in 1986 – to study commerce at Otago University.

I studied commerce and then accounting and also completed a law degree at Vic. I have worked as an accountant for different organisations over the last 20 years or so.

Currently I work for two charities, Arts Access Aotearoa and Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA), for four days a week.

One day a week, I set aside for my property portfolio.

Growing up in a large whanau

I grew up in a large whānau. Parents, grandparents and other family members, uncles and aunties – we supported each other as one large family home.

The main thing my family taught me is that – always – people come first. We need to look after each other, support one another. These are the most important things in life.

I lived in various rental properties for some 20 years, when I was a student in Dunedin, and for years after I moved to Wellington in 1996.

Then I built my own house in Churton Park, finally completing it in 2006. A few years after I had built my own home, I decided to purchase one property as an investment – that first property was in Porirua.

That’s how I became a landlord. Since then, on average I have invested in one more rental property each year. I now have properties in Porirua, the Hutt and Wellington.

The Aro Mai team

I have several properties which now house people who are supported by the DCM workers on the Aro Mai Housing First team.

The best thing about it is that you are providing homes for people who really need them. So that gives me satisfaction.

There’s also the fact that the rent is paid regularly – I don’t have any issues with rent. And the tenants are supported and managed by DCM – I don’t have to worry about that either.

Upgrading a property

Last year I spent some $35K upgrading one property – painting, plastering, carpeting, and making the kitchen and lounge open plan. I like to do this kind of work – it’s very uplifting for people when they move in.

One of the tenants DCM is supporting came by a few days before her tenancy was due to begin, watching our progress and getting very excited – she wanted to move in right away. It was great that she was able to get a nice place to live.

Yes, there can be some issues. But things have always been sorted quickly. The DCM team are great to work with and I find it very easy to get in touch with the Emerge Aotearoa tenancy managers, Vicky and Victor.

There’s a whole team supporting us as landlords, and it all works really well.”

If you would like to know more about how you can provide homes for the people we are supporting out of homelessness, please get in touch with our Director Stephen Turnock at or by clicking the button below:

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