Another example of parish commitment to the grater community is the Tahi Terrace project. Number 18 Tahi Terrace is a light of hope for people struggling to own a home.
It is also a gauge of the social responsibility that this parish practises as well as preaches. The project started in 1988 in answer to the Diocesan Pastoral Council’s plea for assistance on behalf of the homeless.
The project started in 1988 in answer to the Diocesan Pastoral Council’s plea for assistance on behalf of the homeless. Our parish bought an $80,000 house in the name of the Bishop of Auckland with funds collected by the parishioners plus a mortgage payable over 25 years. The building was fire damaged so parishioners gave their time and energies to make it habitable. The house is administered on behalf of the Bishop by an independent board known as the Home Ownership Support Team.
The first family with three children arrived in September 1989 and saved enough money through new hoses after taking part in the scheme and a fifth is well on its way.
Each is selected by the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust and must have at least one wage earner and children. The Home Ownership Support Team signs them up on standard tenancy agreements and charges market rentals. A portion of the rent is retained to help pay off the mortgage and the remainder is saved for the participants. Savings must be used as a down payment on a home at the end of the three year tenancy. Contributions from some parishioners and supporters go towards maintence, rates etc. Voluntary labour also helps keep down costs that have escalated over the last eighteen years. The final payment on the mortgage was paid this year and the support team is looking at the possibility of buying a second house.
“Many families cannot afford to pay market rents and save for their own homes at the same time,” Fr David says. “Rising rentals and the sale of rented properties by their owners often force people to move to cheaper areas or double up with relatives – causing health problems and truancy. “But owning one’s own house is an achievable goal under this scheme where participants are given an incentive to save.” This project doesn’t give hand-outs but it does a hand up.
It works in partnership with families who must prove they are good tenants and contributions are readily accepted.