An Auckland family have recently been able to buy their own home, thanks to a housing scheme run by Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Glen Eden.The parish runs what it calls it calls its Tahi Terrace Home Ownership Project.
Anasetasia and Jason Tuitea rented the house for 3½ years as a family in the project, and as a result were able to save enough to buy a house for themselves and their two daughters, Nikita and Vannessa.
They applied after seeing an advertisement in the parish newsletter, Mrs Tuitea told NZ Catholic. “Its dedicated committee ran a selection process where the applicants were interviewed, and we were very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to live in the house,” she said.
A flyer published by the parish explains that families selected for the project sign up to a standard tenancy agreement at a market rental, as well as a budgeting agreement and a special rent rebate agreement.
Provided they then use the money as a deposit on their own home, the Home Ownership Support Team (Host) will reimburse the greater part of their rent at the time they buy their own house.
“A portion of their rent is retained to help pay for our own outgoings on the property. If the tenants breach the agreements, they forfeit their rights to reimbursement of rent paid,” the flyer states.
Families usually rent for a maximum of four years.
Mrs Tuitea said the scheme is a great help to any family, especially with house pricing at an all-time high, and where the reality of owning a home is understandably a struggle. “There is no better help
than that offered through this project,” she said.
The parish bought the project house, at 18 Tahi Tce, in 1988 in response to a Diocesan Pastoral Council plea on behalf of homeless families.
Although the house is administered on behalf of the bishop by an independent board, it is parishioner support that keeps it going.
Host states that most families — though not all — who have taken part in the project have managed to buy their own homes.
Rents have to be set at a realistic figure, because proof that the family has regularly paid substantial rent is needed to persuade a bank to grant a mortgage.
Each rental is now lasting longer than in the past, Host states, because of the rapidly rising cost of housing.