The future of affordable housing for seniors is looking better in at least one part of Auckland. In December 2016, HBH Senior Living purchased the Stevenson Village rental housing units in Howick. The units have been providing affordable housing for older people since the mid-1970s and had been put on the market by the original owners, the Stevenson Trust. CEO of HBH, Bonnie Robinson welcomed the opportunity for HBH to buy the village describing it as a “natural fit” for their values-based organisation:
We want to make sure that this wonderful resource of affordable housing for older people remains available now and in the future
HBH Senior Living is a already provides apartment living, rest home and hospital level aged care and day programmes driven by the vision of the Eden Alternative. The Eden Alternative focuses on ensuring aa meaningful and fulfilling lives for older people as possible, regardless of their health or disability challenges. By taking the step into affordable rental housing for older people, HBH is one of many church-based organisations stepping up to meet the growing need for affordable housing for older people with lower incomes and few assets.
As housing researcher Kay Saville-Smith reports, the home ownership rate among older people is falling and more people will be needing affordable rental housing in coming years. Along with the partnership between The Selwyn Foundation and Auckland Council, the HBH move represents another very practical response from church-based social services to a growing need.