Construction begins on cabin community for the homeless

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Jan Brunt, Salvation Army Deputy Corps Leader and Director of Community Ministries Ros Johnson, Salvation Army Team Leader First Hosting Jaap Noteboom, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Nelson Nick Clarke, Director Neville Jackson and Reverend Watiri Maina with the

ANDY MACDONALD / TRICKS

Jan Brunt, Salvation Army Deputy Corps Leader and Director of Community Ministries Ros Johnson, Salvation Army Team Leader First Hosting Jaap Noteboom, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Nelson Nick Clarke, Director Neville Jackson and Reverend Watiri Maina with the “first post” of the cabins for community project.

A housing project to help people living in emergency housing transition to stable housing has started construction in Nelson.

The Cabins for Community project would see eight one-room cabins placed at 236 Vanguard Street, on land owned by the Victory Community Anglican Church.

Under the direction of the Salvation Army’s Housing First program, people living in emergency accommodation would be invited to live in the shacks to help them transition to permanent housing.

The huts and communal blocks are provided by Habitat for Humanity Nelson, with the project being a joint venture between the organisation, Victory Community Anglican Church and Housing First.

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Ruth Vaughan (14) places the first sod in the hole during the blessing of the Victory Community Anglican Church.

ANDY MACDONALD / TRICKS

Ruth Vaughan (14) places the first sod in the hole during the blessing of the Victory Community Anglican Church.

On Saturday morning, parish members gathered for the blessing and groundbreaking to commemorate the start of construction of the cabin community.

Vicar of the Victory Community Anglican Church, Watiri Maina, said the Cabins for Community project aligns with the church’s “heart’s desire” for the use of the land.

The church recognized that the area was experiencing a housing crisis and wanted to provide “a place of hope and a place of refuge”.

“We want to help meet the needs of this city. It felt like Cabins for Community was a perfect idea.

Maina said the response has been incredibly supportive, with parish members volunteering to garden and prepare the area before residents arrive.

Noteboom, Clarke, Maina and Jackson sign the paperwork allowing construction to begin.

ANDY MACDONALD / TRICKS

Noteboom, Clarke, Maina and Jackson sign the paperwork allowing construction to begin.

Salvation Army team leader Jaap Noteboom said housing people in hotels for emergencies was never meant to be a permanent solution.

However, with the ongoing housing crisis, it was difficult to find accommodation for people in Nelson.

About a year ago, talks began with the aim of finding an innovative solution to this problem that would allow people to have their own space, while maintaining their support groups.

“Homeless people live in support groups. They would like to have their own space and would like to stay connected, so that they can be supported by each other.

Noteboom said Habitat for Humanity Nelson chief executive Nick Clarke came up with the concept of a “cabin community”, one of which has already been built in Carterton for teens.

Notebloom and Clarke visited the cabin community and were impressed with it. Discussions began around bringing the concept to Nelson and how it would work logistically.

The cabins are approximately 4.8 meters long and 2.4 meters wide and are under construction.

Provided

The cabins are approximately 4.8 meters long and 2.4 meters wide and are under construction.

Clarke said Habitat for Humanity Nelson would provide the “equipment” for the project, which included the cabins, common cooking and laundry areas, and toilet block.

Each cabin was approximately 4.8 meters long and 2.4 meters wide. They were well insulated and double glazed, and had French windows, carpeted tiles and a veranda.

The cabins were fitted with electricity and had space for a bed, a desk and an armchair, as well as a wardrobe and shelves. Six of them had been built by pre-apprenticeship students.

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Although not an end destination, the cabin was cozy and comfortable, and would be a good place to stay and get an address before moving on to the next stage of their housing journey.

“Community support has been great and we can’t wait to get things done. If people want to volunteer they can contact us, we are always happy to hear from you.

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