Developer promises millions to provide housing for most in need


Ian Cassels, a well known Wellington property developer, has pledged to set aside $10,000 for charity from the profit of every high-end home he sells.

Houses and apartments sold for over $800,000 would generate a donation to Wellington City Mission.

The money will come from developments in the pipeline like Erskine College, inner-city apartments, and the controversial Shelly Bay site.

“The outcome of these developments should be positive in many ways rather than just providing some houses for some people and a developer making some money”, Cassels said.

“The Wellington property market is still hot at the top end, and that’s a testament to how attractive a proposition it is to live in this city,” Cassels says.

“At the same time, it’s undeniable that Wellington still has pockets of very visible social issues such as chronic homelessness, alcoholism and child poverty. It’s a pretty grim paradox.”

The Mission’s association with the Stop Out Club for wayward youth founded in the early 20th century captured Cassels’ attention.

He then learned more about the charity’s historical ties with the city.

The Stop Out organisation started in 1919 to provide recreation to Te Aro Flat children in Wellington.

It was an attempt to prevent them from becoming “stop-outs” – period slang for “troubled youth”.

Wellington City Mission is going to develop a commercial building on Oxford Terrace which it purchased earlier this year.

The plan is to move its services from Newtown to the new Mt Cook site.

Between 30 and 50 supported-living units will also be developed under the Housing First initiative, subject to final design plans.

The money from The Wellington Company was “huge” for the charity, Wellington City Missioner Murray Edridge said.

It would assist the Mission in its work with more than 500 of the capital’s most vulnerable people.


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