Preg­nant, home­less, with two chil­dren

North Shore Times - - HOME & GARDEN - MAHVASH ALI

Jes­sica Bankart de­scribed it as the month from hell. At 30-weeks preg­nant, the sin­gle mum was home­less and liv­ing in a car with her two chil­dren un­der the age of 2.

Her son asked to go home in­ces­santly, she said. ‘‘... But there was no home to go back to.’’

The Auck­land woman re­sorted to liv­ing in her car for a month while Work and In­come tried to find her ac­com­mo­da­tion close to her mid­wife.

Her son would get so frus­trated he would bang his head against the win­dow – a habit he was yet to grow out, she said.

Bankart moved into a Hous­ing New Zealand home on Oc­to­ber 27 – just three weeks out from her due date.

While home­less, Bankart and her two chil­dren sur­vived on fish and chips, take­aways, cheap pies and ce­real out of the box.

Nap­pies and for­mula took up most of her ben­e­fit and she could not af­ford to keep a mo­bile phone, she said.

They ran out of clean clothes and had no shoes, she said. ’’The kids were al­ways sick.’’

At night she would cover the win­dows with blan­kets, but the young fam­ily were wo­ken up sev­eral times by loud passers-by, she said.

Bankart’s trou­bles be­gan in Au­gust when she was liv­ing in a west Auck­land rental.

A rent pay­ment dis­pute with the land­lord meant she had to leave the home at short no­tice and put most of her be­long­ings in stor­age.

Work and In­come or­gan­ised emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion for her, but the young fam­ily was made to move at least three times dur­ing this time.

‘‘It was hard, mov­ing ev­ery­thing over and over again with the kids. Some places had stairs so I had to carry my stuff up to the room.’’

Over the next five weeks, she was put up in mo­tels and with a hous­ing provider in the North Shore, where she was re­quired to take bud­get­ing and par­ent­ing cour­ses.

Bankart said she missed the ses­sions be­cause she had mid­wife ap­point­ments in West Auck­land and had to care for her then ail­ing mother.

She was asked to leave the North Shore fa­cil­ity af­ter fail­ing to at­tend the cour­ses and break­ing house rules, ac­cord­ing to Work and In­come.

On Oc­to­ber 27 she was al­lo­cated a Hous­ing New Zealand home near her mid­wife.

MAHVASH ALI/ STUFF

Jes­sica Bankart sit­ting on the steps of her Hous­ing New Zealand home she was al­lo­cated on Oc­to­ber 27.

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