Tāmaki Regeneration's OWN IT Initiative Redefining Community Living
In the midst of Auckland's pressing housing crisis, the OWN IT initiative by Tāmaki Regeneration is emerging as a transformative force, specifically designed to uplift Māori and Pasifika families facing unprecedented challenges in the city's housing market.
Afoa Tevita Malolo, spokesperson for Tāmaki Regeneration, sheds light on how this program aims not only to provide homes but also to reshape the narrative for marginalised communities.
Auckland's housing crisis has escalated to alarming levels, making headlines globally for its soaring property prices and diminishing affordability.
According to The Demographia International Housing Affordability Report, Auckland currently ranks as one of the least affordable housing markets globally, placing 88th out of 94 markets surveyed worldwide. This crisis disproportionately affects Māori and Pasifika families, pushing homeownership further out of reach.
The challenges faced by Māori and Pasifika families in Auckland's housing market are deeply rooted in historical and systemic issues. As highlighted by various studies, these communities often find themselves at the margins, facing biases in traditional mortgage environments and struggling with the increasing unaffordability of homes.
The effects of past gentrification and relocations have left lasting impacts, creating obstacles for these families to secure stable housing.
In response to this crisis, Tāmaki Regeneration initiated the OWN IT program, acknowledging the unique struggles of Māori and Pasifika communities. With a commitment to redeveloping state homes and building new ones, OWN IT stands as a beacon of hope amid the housing turmoil. Afoa says that the program is not just about constructing houses; it's about creating opportunities for communities to thrive in their own neighborhoods.
The OWN IT program becomes even more crucial in the context of unaffordability. Afoa notes that Auckland's housing market has evolved in the past 15 to 20 years, making traditional homeownership increasingly unattainable, especially for first-time homebuyers.
Affordability issues are exacerbated by stagnant incomes, inflation, and the fluctuation in mortgage interest rates; but also external factors that pertain to Pasifika families: church tithing and remittances to families living in the islands.
A unique aspect of the OWN IT program is its recognition of Pasifika family dynamics, often characterised by multi-generational households. The challenge is to accommodate these family structures while ensuring affordability.
OWN IT encourages multi-generational families to combine incomes, teaching them to harness the financial potential within their households. This approach not only addresses housing needs but also fosters a sense of financial literacy within the community.
OWN IT goes beyond the conventional boundaries of a housing program. It has become a vehicle for financial empowerment and community building. The program conducts workshops where families learn how to collectively navigate financial decisions, breaking cultural taboos around money.
The result is a growing network of families supporting each other, sharing experiences, and collectively striving toward homeownership.
As OWN IT continues its mission since its inception in 2017, delivering over 80 homes and empowering families, it is clear that the program is more than just a housing solution. It is a catalyst for change, offering a pathway to homeownership, financial literacy, and community resilience for Māori and Pasifika families in Auckland. In the face of the housing crisis, OWN IT stands as a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives in shaping a more inclusive and equitable future.