A NEW sponsorship provides a much-needed funding boost which will help Habitat for Humanity Nelson build more affordable homes in New Zealand’s ‘Top of the South’.

Forestry company OneFortyOne launched the new sponsorship this week at Habitat Nelson’s new community housing project in Stoke, a suburb of Nelson.

General manager OneFortyOne’s Kaituna Sawmill Tracy Goss said the sponsorship was a natural fit for his company.

“Our timber is being used as internal timber framing, fencing and other hard landscaping, all provided by our local customer ITM. There’s a great connection knowing the trees grown to make the timber, have been grown locally for the last 28 years in the Golden Downs Forest and can now be enjoyed by families for decades to come,” Tracy said.

Habitat Nelson general manager Nick Clarke added: “We are excited to be partnering with OneFortyOne. Affordable housing is one of our region’s biggest issues and it requires collaboration and investment from strong partners. Having crucial partners such as OneFortyOne supports us in the access of affordable materials through ITM, thus helping to make these decent homes affordable.”

Habitat Nelson has been supported by ITM for almost 30 years and was instrumental in instigating this partnership.

So far 14 houses have been built, with more than 30 more homes to be completed by 2025, and other projects to follow.

“These are life-changing projects for families in need; building self-reliance, families’ self-worth, increasing their hope for the future, enhancing community inclusion, and providing young children the stability and safety they need in order to succeed at school and in life,” Mr Clarke said.

“For many families in the Nelson Tasman region, decent and affordable housing is becoming difficult to find. This is having a negative impact on the mental and emotional health and wellbeing of families and the young.”

Research shows that beyond causing severe emotional and mental strain, unaffordable and substandard housing influences the quality and quantity of interactions within neighbourhoods, affecting social cohesion, trust and a collective sense of community.

Besides Habitat Nelson’s focus on affordable housing initiatives, it promotes community wellbeing, inclusion and connection.

“By partnering with like-minded supporters such as OnefortyOne we are able to provide decent, affordable and healthy homes, and subsequently we have been able to reduce the incidence of sickness within our community and provide hope and security,” Mr Clarke said.

OneFortyOne is a vertically integrated trans-Tasman business that manages both forests and sawmill operations in New Zealand and Australia. In New Zealand it manages 80,000 ha of certified sustainable plantation forests in Nelson Tasman and Marlborough and the Kaituna sawmill near Blenheim.