New Habi­tat house brings fam­ily to­gether

Northern News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

Life has changed sig­nif­i­cantly for a Whanga¯rei fam­ily af­ter they re­ceived their own Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity home last year.

Ten pris­on­ers were in­volved with the build­ing of the house.

It was built at the North­ern Re­gion Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in Ngawha and then lifted by crane over the wall and trans­ported to Whanga¯ rei.

It’s a win win sit­u­a­tion - the project pre­pares pris­on­ers for a ca­reer in con­struc­tion, while a fam­ily in need gets a home.

One year on from mov­ing into their new home, Dana Phillips and her three chil­dren say they no longer have to con­tend with the daily stresses from liv­ing in sub­stan­dard hous­ing.

Phillips says she has been able to fo­cus on pro­vid­ing sta­bil­ity for her fam­ily and spend­ing qual­ity time to­gether.

‘‘My chil­dren love hav­ing a home to call their own, one where they feel safe and se­cure.’’

She says she feels the kids ‘‘are liv­ing a life all chil­dren should have the op­por­tu­nity to have’’.

When the fam­ily ap­plied for the house the chil­dren were all reg­is­tered with Star­ship.

Nowa­days, one has now been taken off this list and the other two have not suf­fered any ma­jor health prob­lems for the last six months.

This has en­abled the kids to par­tic­i­pate in soc­cer, bas­ket­ball, league and taekwondo and live a more ac­tive life.

Phillips’ nephew has now also joined the fam­ily home.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve it’s been a year al­ready.

‘‘This has been the best year in the 18 years that I have been a mother,’’ she says.

‘‘Our fam­ily has never been tighter. We do ev­ery­thing to­gether now.

‘‘The things that used to stress me, like try­ing to keep the house warm and dry free of mould and dust al­ler­gens don’t ex­ist any­more re­lief.’’

Phillips says it was thanks to a friend she made the ap­pli­ca­tion to Habi­tat.

Ini­tially Phillips didn’t feel her sit­u­a­tion ‘‘was as bad as some of the ones you hear about in the pa­pers,’’ but her friend per­sisted and the re­sult has changed their lives.

‘‘My heart has been filled with love,’’ she says.

❚ Got an in­spir­ing story you’d like to share? Email some de­tails to jenny.ling@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz or phone 09 4070362. - it is such a

DAWN DUT­TON PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Dana Phillips says their Habi­tat home has been life chang­ing for her fam­ily.

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