Fam­ily strug­gles to find rental

Se­lec­tive land­lords won’t rent to us, says des­per­ate mother with ref­er­ences

Bay of Plenty Times - - Local News - Kiri Gille­spie

ap­proach­ing Te Tuinga Whanau, the so­cial agency with the min­istry found a tran­si­tional home for her and the chil­dren that day. She was grate­ful but sad­dened that peo­ple would not give her a chance.

“I can un­der­stand how you get some par­ents who don’t watch what their kids do and there are rough kids out there and for some land­lords, their homes are their in­vest­ments, I get that, but not all of us are like that,” she said.

Love split from the chil­dren’s fa­ther about a year ago but they re­main friends and his child sup­port cov­ers most of their needs.

The rest is the re­sult of a sin­gle par­ent ben­e­fit, win­ter en­ergy ben­e­fit and “good bud­get­ing”, she said.

“I know peo­ple say ‘don’t have so many kids’ and ‘where’s the dad’ and all of that but I’m not go­ing to feel guilty for hav­ing chil­dren.

“I love my kids. I came from a big fam­ily and any­one who knows my kids knows they are good kids.”

Te Tuinga Whanau’s Tommy Wil­son said more than 50 per cent of his clien­tele were solo par­ents and their strug­gle to find a rental was “be­com­ing more com­mon”.

Wil­son said many solo mums came for help hav­ing left abu­sive re­la­tion­ships and were try­ing to do right by their chil­dren but the feed­back was of­ten “they shouldn’t have that many kids”.

“Tau­ranga needs to un­der­stand that if we don’t deal with the mums with seven kids and leave it to nat­u­ral jus­tice; we could end up ghet­tois­ing parts of Tau­ranga. At the mo­ment we’ve got the op­por­tu­nity to negate home­less­ness but we can’t just ex­pect or­gan­i­sa­tions like us and the Govern­ment to do it. It takes the com­mu­nity to do it.

“Her seven kids are in school or preschool, they are healthy and happy and warm. That’s a huge plus for the com­mu­nity of Tau­ranga.”

Tau­ranga Rentals’ Dan Lusby said he also no­ticed a grad­ual in­crease in solo par­ents strug­gling to find rentals but the city still did not have enough hous­ing.

Many land­lords had large pools of in­ter­ested ren­ters to choose PHOTO / GE­ORGE NO­VAK

from and some of­ten pre­ferred work­ing cou­ples with no chil­dren, he said.

How­ever, while prej­u­dices were “def­i­nitely out there”, some re­jec­tions were prac­ti­cal.

“Un­for­tu­nately, even we don’t even have a house big enough for seven chil­dren. We have a fivebed­room house . . . but that’s not avail­able right now.”

Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment re­gional com­mis­sioner Te Re­hia Papesch said it was work­ing with Te Tuinga Whanau to find a longterm home for Love and her chil­dren.

“No one should have to live in in­se­cure hous­ing such as a tent or a car.”

Donna Love with three of her seven chil­dren — Atarangi Kohe-Love, 4, Jour­ney Kohe-Love, 3, and Taitoa Kohe-Love, 8 months. The size of the fam­ily is mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to find a suit­able rental.

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