Community important in Arlington social housing
June 27, 2019
A resident in the Wellington Arlington social housing wants Housing NZ to provide enough community spaces when renovating the multi-cultural housing block.
Part of the social housing blocks had been renovated by the Wellington City Council on a $20 million budget. The other half of the project is being negotiated with Housing NZ.
Resident Josh Bruce, who lives in the un-renovated flats and runs a youth group within the complex, said Housing NZ had promised to consult residents about the renovation process.
The council used to facilitate weekly gatherings for residents in the flats and other events. The complex currently had a community room and some green space, with the potential of putting in a basketball hoop. However, Bruce said the community room was small, usually locked and there weren’t many keys for it. “It depends on whether there are some people to facilitate and foster that sense of community.”
There were many ethnic groups who had lived there for years and had built good relationships. The aim of Bruce’s’ youth group was to help residents build those connections and him and his wife, Emily Bruce, often ran it from the community room. “It gives an opportunity for relationship between other people and role models. It helps build relationship with the parents and families as well.”
Neighbour Bridget Baker had been involved with Arlington groups, such as playgroups and community dinners, for 15 years. She said the newly renovated buildings looked good but their community room wasn’t as big as the one in the other complex across the road.
She would like to see more green space and bigger community spaces in the complex. “It’s [community room is] the only space they’ve got. It’s not big enough for large events combined with the city council. I’d always like to see bigger and better community spaces.”
City Councillor Brian Dawson said that while they consulted with residents, its bigger concern in renovating was to provide safe, warm homes. Although it would be up to Housing NZ to determine the design for the new block, the council would make recommendations.
He said it was important for residents, particularly those new to the country, to become integrated into a community. “As part of where they live, it leads to better results for them and better results for the people around them.”