13 May 2016

The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust – the new organisation proposed to take over Christchurch City Council's social housing service later this year – has appointed Cate Kearney as its chief executive.

Ms Kearney will move from her current position as Service Manager for Canterbury District Health Board's Specialist Mental Health Service to begin her new role with the Trust on 13 June.

Under the new structure, the Council proposes to keep full ownership of its approximately 2270 open social housing units and land, while leasing the assets to the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust to manage.

The Trust would be responsible for tenancy management, rent-setting and the day-to-day maintenance of the units, while major repairs and renewals would remain the Council's domain.

Ms Kearney says she is looking forward to leading an organisation set up to create positive and lasting change for many residents in Christchurch.

"More than ever, the availability of affordable housing has come to define people's well-being in our city, particularly since the earthquakes," she says.

"For people on low incomes and with limited assets, access to safe, warm, healthy housing is often an enormous challenge, if not impossible.

"The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust will work closely with other housing providers and social agencies to strengthen the services provided to those in our community who need access to housing the most.

"I'm looking forward to working with the trustees to shape an organisation that's fully equipped to meet that goal," she adds.

Trust Chair Alex Skinner says the organisation will benefit greatly from Ms Kearney's substantial experience in community services.

"Cate brings 21 years' experience in the mental health and addictions sector, including 16 years in leadership positions, which gives her considerable insight into the barriers many people face in accessing housing.

"We are fortunate to have Cate leading the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust and she joins us at the perfect time, as we build up the organisation to a point where it's ready to take over from the Council later this year.''