The Whangarei Accessible Housing Trust (W.A.H.T.) was established in 2006 as a charitable trust whose main purpose was to provide disabled people with accessible, affordable rental housing.

The Mission Statement for W.A.H.T.  is:

To provide accessible, affordable, sustainable, quality housing for disabled people and whanau, in partnership with disabled people and other key stakeholders from the community, public and private sectors”

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 rest homes 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 modifying them. However, the Trust soon recognised that to build their own homes provided a better solution, as many more accessible features could be included, at virtually no additional cost. It showcased how having an accessible environment, could ensure a person with a significant disability, could live independently.

The Trust has 27 homes, 19 homes are in Whangarei and the remaining 8 are in Auckland. The last three homes to be built were completed and tenanted in 2021. Excitingly, the Trust is currently building 9 new two bedroom units in Whangarei due for completion towards the end of 2024.

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