The government is switching from paid motels to homeless shelters to buy their own in Rotorua

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The government raised $ 8.1 million to purchase the Boulevard Motel in Rotorua's Fenton St.

BENN BADETOR / stuff

The government raised $ 8.1 million to purchase the Boulevard Motel in Rotorua’s Fenton St.

The government has spent $ 8.1 million buying a Rotorua motel for temporary housing.

But while the deputy mayor endorsed officials’ move to pay Motieliers to house emergency housing to become landlords themselves, it was slammed by local National MP Todd McClay.

Kāinga Ora announced the purchase on Wednesday, saying the 30-unit property would provide temporary housing for over 80 people.

The agency said the 0.66-acre site also offers longer-term redevelopment potential for “new warm, dry and healthy public housing in Rotorua”.

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The issue of motel use for homeless shelters has been controversial at the tourist center, with claims that Rotorua has “become a dump for the homeless in the country.”

Some motel owners have also alleged subordinate tactics by the Department of Social Development to bring shelters into their homes.

RICKY WILSON / STUFF

Housing Secretary Megan Woods announces $ 1 billion in funding to accelerate housing construction. The video was first released in June 2021.

The specter of reputational damage also forced Mike Gallagher, chairman of the Rotorua Association of Motels, to compile an online list of motels in Rotorua that are not accepting MSD customers.

Darren Toy, Bay of Plenty regional director in Kāinga Ora, said the purchase was good news for those in need of housing.

“Around 80 people and families will soon have warm, dry and safe accommodation with a fenced-in playground and green areas after the renovation work has been carried out on this property.

“In the further course we are also looking into the redevelopment of this well-located location, which is close to transport and services, for longer-term public housing construction,” said Toy.

The first people and families are expected to move in from late September / early October after some modernization and maintenance work has been carried out to reflect the new use as temporary housing and in line with the new resource permit.

Reg Hennessy, owner of Hennessy's Irish Bar and president of the Hospitality New Zealand Rotorua branch, said the move is a sign that Rotorua is transitioning from being a tourist and visitor center to an

Tom Lee / stuff

Reg Hennessy, owner of Hennessy’s Irish Bar and president of the Hospitality New Zealand Rotorua branch, said the move is a sign that Rotorua is transitioning from being a tourist and visitor center to an “emergency shelter line”.

The units are managed by the experienced local provider of residential and care services, the Wera Aotearoa Charitable Trust, who provide on-site support around the clock.

However, the move was slammed by the Rotorua MP, Todd McClay.

“The government shouldn’t own a motel. Build a few houses. “

McClay said the purchase is transforming Rotorua from a tourist town into a homeless town.

He also said he heard from both visitors and accommodation providers that “more and more people are not staying here”.

McClay’s views were backed up by Reg Hennessy, Hennessy’s Irish bar owner and President of Hospitality New Zealand Rotorua.

“Rotorua is going from a tourist town to an emergency shelter.”

He said the loss of another motel on Fenton Street to visitors was pushing them further and further away from town, and that many would no longer walk that short distance.

“Now there is a security problem.”

Mike Gallagher, chairman of the Rotorua Association of Motels, said he had asked so many potential guests about shelters that he had to compile an online list of the motels they weren't taking.

Tom Lee / stuff

Mike Gallagher, chairman of the Rotorua Association of Motels, said he had asked so many potential guests about shelters that he had to compile an online list of the motels they weren’t taking.

He also said he feared the reputation of Rotorua as a visitor center and that the purchase was a sign of the government’s intentions for Rotorua.

“We’ll never get these places back,” he said.

However, Rotorua Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson said he supported the purchase.

“I support what is being done,” he said.

“They are New Zealanders, the majority are locals and we need to find solutions to provide suitable accommodation for family groups.”

He said the Rotorua Lakes Council worked with organizations like Kāinga Ora to make changes, such as ending mixed use of visitors and emergency shelters in the same buildings.

He also said he believed the Wera Aotearoa Charitable Trust’s role in providing full-service at the motel would alleviate some of the antisocial issues observed elsewhere.

“It will be a well-run facility. I see a properly managed temporary home as a way to tone down our reputation, ”he said.

“I support what is being done.”


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