Community help for Annie
Grandmother can keep home after financial advisors step up to help, strangers rally around
The Horowhenua grandmother who stepped in and took over the full-time care of her sick baby grandson after he was removed from his parents will now be able to keep her house.
The home was threatened with foreclosure after mortgage arrears were incurred while Annie* spent months in hospital with the baby, who has undergone serious heart surgeries and other complications, including a traumatic family life with parents she says are methamphetamine addicts.
Annie’s ex-husband was also pursing a relationship property settlement, further threatening her ownership of the home she has lived in for nearly three decades.
After a story by the Horowhenua Chronicle drew national attention to the situation, an outpouring of support and donations from both the local community and throughout the country has eased the burden for Annie, who says she is overwhelmed with gratitude to all who have offered their help.
The story resulted in Kapitibased mortgage and financial advisor Orange Network contacting her. Owner Richard Banks and advisor Johnny Graham made a free, comprehensive review of Annie’s situation, and arranged refinancing with a new lender, allowing her to keep the house.
Her existing lender, Cooperative Bank, told Annie they were unable to help beyond granting an extra four months’ grace on payment — after being contacted by the Chronicle.
Orange Network also put her in touch with more comprehensive legal advice, as they were shocked when told of the advice she had received, which they felt was substandard.
Annie said she could not thank people enough, and that Richard and Johnny were “amazing”.
“A huge thanks for the love and prayers we’ve received,” she said. “People saying just to stick in there — it’s just been amazing. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. The thought that there are people out there who genuinely love and care, it’s what’s kept me going.”
Donations have been dropped off at the Chronicle office, including nappies, grocery vouchers, a teddy bear and two handmade quilts by the Town and Country Quilters group of Levin. They made them specially — an adult-sized one for Annie and a smaller one for the baby.
The gifts would be treasured, Annie said.
Money donated to a special account had paid her utility bills, including high power costs for a heat pump she has to use continuously to ensure the baby stays at a stable temperature.
Despite the baby being back in hospital with stomach complications due to his feeding tube — which Annie uses to feed him a special formula every three hours around the clock — she said she felt she could now look ahead with some positivity for the first time in a long while. The news she could keep her home felt like a huge burden had been lifted.
“I used to love gardening, but haven’t been able to bring myself to do it for months because of [the threat of losing] the house,” Annie said. “But today I went outside and planted two little strawberry plants.”
(*Name changed to protect identity.)