Charity CEO says many challenges confronting far north housing crisis

By Stefan Dimitrof

The chief executive of Pre-Home Kaikohe, Matenga Ashby, has been named a finalist at the Impact Awards, which celebrate remarkable young New Zealanders making a difference.

Pre-Home Kaikohe is a social enterprise helping whānau in the far north get warm, healthy and affordable homes.

Matenga said that having been born in the far north he had had first-hand experience of the challenges that people face such as homelessness and poverty resulting in illnesses.

“There are a lot of barriers when it comes to whānau homes. For example, council rules are slow, costly and complicated.

“Family issues stop papakainga development and there is no easy access to suitable housing, especially for rural communities.”

“When our kids are sick or struggle to have good rest, they struggle to engage in education”.

Matenga said that there were 8000 whānau on the social housing register right now and 1500 on the emergency housing waiting list in the Far North alone.

'Mothers looking for housing'

Matenga said Pre-Home Kaikohe was a not-for-profit charitable trust that found a way for whānau to afford prefabricated homes.

“We are the connector between whanau and prefab companies.”

The majority of the requests he gets for affordable housing is from kuia and mothers looking for housing for their mokopuna and tamariki. Most were Māori, he said.