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Starting a house

Abbeyfield New Zealand recognizes that many communities would benefit from having an Abbeyfield House in their region. As our national demographics undergo relentless change, the need for affordable, supported living options for older people will only grow.

women in garden

What's involved?

So, what’s involved in starting an Abbeyfield house in your region?
The very first step is to contact our national office to discuss your interest and the process. Some of the key steps include:

• Forming a steering committee: every Abbeyfield house starts with a group of people who are willing to steer a new house project along, working with Abbeyfield New Zealand. Eventually this group will become a local Abbeyfield Society which will go on to manage the house.

• Assessing demand: will there be enough potential residents in your area to sustain full occupancy over many decades? What other retirement accommodation is available? Once established, an Abbeyfield house is usually self-sustaining, as long as close to 100% occupancy can be maintained. It’s important to thoroughly assess demand.

• Finding land or a suitable building to convert: Abbeyfield has guidelines on the kind of site that will be suitable, as well as extensive design guidelines for an Abbeyfield house.

• Fundraising: a new Abbeyfield house can cost $2.5- 3 million, depending on the cost of land and the size of the house. These days, in the absence of government support, most of the cost has to be raised via grants and other fundraising and a mortgage. We recognise that this can seem a daunting target and continue to explore ways to fund new houses.

There are many more details to work through, and we welcome enquiries from people or groups interested in setting up a new Abbeyfield House.

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