The Whangarei Accessible Housing Trust (WAHT) was established in 2006 as a charitable trust whose main purpose was to provide or assist disabled people with accessible affordable housing – primarily this was to be rental accommodation but with a view to eventually assisting disabled people achieve ownership of an accessible home.
The Trust was formed as a direct result of the huge demand and lack of supply for accessible homes, and the lack of viable options for disabled people. There are currently over 600 disabled people living in resthomes throughout New Zealand (well under retirement age) simply because there is no other alternative for them. Others remain living with their parents until their parents die, as they are unable to find suitable alternative accommodation.
The Trust started by buying 8 existing houses and modifiying them. However, the Trust soon recognised that to build provided a better solution, as many more accessible features could be included, at virtually no additional cost, and it showcased how having an accessible environment, could ensure a person with a significant disability, could live independently.
The Trust completed its 20th house in Whangarei (8 existing and 12 brand new homes), and has built 8 new homes in Auckland.
To date the Trust has received national and international recognition as follows:
- Supreme Award – National Local Authority Community Development 2007
- Highly Commended: Certificate of Excellence, Accessible Design in Housing – CHAI 2007
- NZ Award for Excellence in Delivering Support Solutions – Australasian Housing Institute 2008
- Australasian Award for Excellence in Delivering, Support Solutions – Australasian Housing Institute 2009
- Leading Innovation Award – Australasian Housing Institute 2015
– Provide a forum/blog facility so that we can interact with disabled people in the community about their housing issues and receive feedback about what is needed
– Possibly provide a database for private landlords to list accessible properties for rent (providing income stream for trust whilst at the same time ensuring information about accessible properties in the Whangarei district is located in one central place