DWC support brings aged care housing project a step closer for Greymouth

01 November 2021
Development West Coast
A new shared housing facility for older people is a step closer to being built in Greymouth, thanks to a $500,000 commitment from Development West Coast and land donated by the Grey District Council.

A new shared housing facility for older people is a step closer to being built in Greymouth, thanks to a $500,000 commitment from DWC and land donated by the Grey District Council.

Local group Abbeyfield Greymouth is working with Abbeyfield Properties to develop an Abbeyfield house catering for 12 over-65s. The house will provide much-needed affordable rental housing for the older age group.

Abbeyfield Greymouth has been working on establishing a house for 15 years. The Grey District Council has already donated a site, on the corner of Palmerston St and Marsden Rd, but the project has stalled until now due to a lack of development capital.

DWC has now revived the project with its $500,000 commitment. Abbeyfield New Zealand Executive Officer, Susan Jenkins, applauded the agency for its foresight.

“Development West Coast has recognised the importance of this project for the West Coast. There is a dire shortage of suitable accommodation for older people in the region; council-owned retirement units are full, with long waiting lists, and rest home options are limited. Many older Coasters are living in caravans or sleepouts or trying to stay on in the family home when it is no longer safe for them to do so,” she said.

“We still need to raise significant funding to build this house and we hope the West Coast community will get behind it and support our local committee. When established, it will mean more Coasters can live out their lives in their local community, rather than being forced to leave the region to find suitable housing.’’

DWC Chief Executive Heath Milne said the project is aligned to the region’s housing and aged care strategies.

“We are pleased to be working with Abbeyfield and the Grey District Council to help increase the availability of affordable, stable and welcoming housing for older Coasters.

"The project will have a positive economic benefit for the region and is a good example of the community working together to take care of each other.”

Grey District Mayor Tania Gibson said the Abbeyfield committee are a group of passionate, hardworking people in our community who have been advocating for the complex for many years.

“It is great to see that now it is going to happen, and all their hard work will pay off. There is a very big housing need in general on the West Coast and demand for housing for older adults in our community.

“Grey District Council’s 118 units for the older age group have a constantly long waiting list. This offers new hope and another option that will be a new development, be affordable, warm, safe and inclusive but offer independence as well.”

The Abbeyfield shared housing model is a little like “flatting” for the over-65s. Each resident has their own studio room and lives independently, but they come together to share meals, which are prepared by a housekeeper/cook. Residents can enjoy the companionship of others in a family-style environment.

The houses provide an affordable rental option for people whose only income is superannuation, and there is no capital entry charge.

There are currently 14 Abbeyfield houses throughout New Zealand, each catering for 11-14 residents. Each house is managed by a local Abbeyfield committee, made up of volunteers. The volunteers’ contribution ensures the rent remains affordable and the residents are well supported.


Peter and June Frankpitt (Abbeyfield Greymouth), Tania Gibson (Grey District Mayor), and Renee Rooney (DWC Chair).