Homes of­fer fam­i­lies a fresh start

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

State houses from East Auck­land are be­ing trucked more than 300 kilo­me­tres to give strug­gling fam­i­lies a fresh start.

The lat­est re­lo­cated Glen Innes house was re­moved from Ko­tae Rd on March 26 and will be­come home to a fam­ily cur­rently living in a garage in Kaitaia.

It was the 11th home moved to the He Ko­rowai Trust’s com­mu­nity hous­ing project in Kaitaia – and is the first one to make it out of the sub­urb in months be­cause of protest ac­tion, Hous­ing New Zealand says.

Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Ricky Houghton says the houses are go­ing to fam­i­lies who have nowhere left to turn.

‘‘They don’t live there by choice, they live there be­cause they have to.

‘‘Ev­ery­one wants to be free from shack­les of state hous­ing de­pen­dence, th­ese fam­i­lies want a chance to hop on the bot­tom rung of the home­own­er­ship lad­der.’’

The trust has nine re­fur­bished state homes on 50 acres of land in Kaitaia and aims to add an­other 30 to the pa­pakainga (tra­di­tional Maori hous­ing vil­lage), in the fu­ture.

It is about chang­ing the statis­tics, Houghton says.

About 95 per cent of the com­mu­nity are on some form of ben­e­fit and the av­er­age an­nual in­come is sit­ting at $20,000, he says.

One woman who now has a home to call her own is Llani Rei­hana.

The 28-year-old was born into a gang and grew up sur­rounded by al­co­hol, drugs and crime.

She had her first child at 17.

The mother-of-four moved to Kaitaia and is now pay­ing off her own home.

It would not be pos­si­ble with­out the abil­ity to re­fur­bish ex­ist­ing homes like those from Glen Innes, Houghton says.

‘‘We’re thank­ful for the Glen Innes com­mu­nity for their sup­port.

‘‘The trust has got into con­sid­er­able debt, but you’re ei­ther go­ing to com­mit to th­ese fam­i­lies or not.

‘‘It’s worth it when you see the smiles on their faces.’’

Each fam­ily pays $190 a week to­wards the mort­gage on their home and re­ceives free med­i­cal care, early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, men­tor­ing, food such as fruit, veg­eta­bles, eggs and milk.

Con­di­tions in­clude work­ing with the trust bud­get­ing team and fam­ily men­tor­ing pro­gramme for a min­i­mum of five years, stay­ing drug, al­co­hol and vi­o­lence-free as well as tak­ing part in an on­site course such as car­pen­try, dec­o­rat­ing or land­scap­ing.

Hous­ing New Zealand spokes­woman Denise Fink says a fur­ther eight homes have been ear­marked for the He Ko­rowai Trust and will be re­lo­cated months.

The cor­po­ra­tion prefers to re­move prop­er­ties in­stead of de­mol­ish­ing them and is look­ing to do this on fu­ture re­de­vel­op­ment projects in Auck­land, she says.

‘‘Last year, due to the ac­tions of a small num­ber of lo­cal pro­test­ers sup­ported by


com­ing peo­ple from out­side of the com­mu­nity we were forced to cancel house re­lo­ca­tions from Glen Innes.

‘‘[This] move was there­fore an ex­tremely im­por­tant mile­stone for us, and we ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port and co­op­er­a­tion of a wide range of com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers in fa­cil­i­tat­ing this.’’

Llani Rei­hana, hold­ing her 6-month-old son Tan­iora, is get­ting her life back on track.

So­phie Cressy and Ricky Houghton of He Ko­rowai Trust.

Re­fur­bished Glen Innes state houses set up in Kaitaia.

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