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27 March 2020

SHAF Appoints Housing Champion

SHAF Media Release

The Southland Housing Action Forum (SHAF) remains grateful for the support of its funders; Community Trust South, ILT, Southland Chamber of Commerce and SBS Bank, all of whom remain committed to supporting community projects such as SHAF.Support from these funders has helped make the vision of SHAF a reality by funding the appointment of Anna Stevens to the role of Housing Champion.

SHAF Chair and SBS Bank CEO Shaun Drylie said “With Anna’s passion for the community at both a social and economic level, her legal and networking skills, and her “can-do” attitude we are confident that collectively we can steer Southland’s housing challenges in the right direction, and get things moving along”.

The group is well supported by a number of community agencies including the Southland Community Housing Group. Chair Margaret Cook said “Our group is pleased and excited by this appointment. With our brief of progressing the 29 recommendations in the 2017 Southland Community Housing Strategy Report, Anna’s skills will undoubtedly complement educational and lobbying aspects of our tasks. We look forward to working alongside her to mitigate this housing crisis.”

Paul Searancke General Manager of Habitat for Humanity said “The appointment is a very positive move in getting action happening, I look forward to working with Anna in finding Southland solutions in getting houses built and our people homed”

The Covid-19 pandemic changes the immediate priorities for our community but housing remains, perhaps even more so now, as a key strategic issue for economic development and social wellbeing in the region.

“I’m really looking forward to rolling up my sleeves up and working with the community to find creative solutions to our housing crisis. In my role as a family lawyer I have seen firsthand the negative effects on families and young people of poor or unreliable housing” said Ms Stevens.

“At an executive and commercial level I see a need to be competitive as a region, to be agile and responsive to the needs of business accommodation. To achieve this we will need to be creative, and work together constructively”

“Changes in the housing infrastructure space will be not happen overnight but making a start now is vital so that we are not still having the same conversation in 12 months’ time” “SHAF has only been made possible by the unwavering support of many committed groups who work tirelessly in our community for a common goal across a range of dynamic issues and we are grateful for that work. We plan to reach out to key stakeholders and connect virtually over the coming weeks to review the changing landscape” she said.

The Southland Housing Action Forum is a great example of Southlanders unifying to tackle a community problem.