Family struggles to find rental
Selective landlords won’t rent to us, says desperate mother with references
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.