Te Rakohikohiko Tumata says she has never felt as low as she did when she "begged" Work and Income for emergency housing. Now, the mother of six is living in a private rental property after being helped by LinkPeople's housing team
Te Rakohikohiko Tumata (right) with her daughter Deezya Tumata, 7. Photo/Stephen Parker
They say that Te Rakohikohiko tried to make a move to Australia last year, but quickly returned and ended up living with her children at her mother's house.
"We were there about two months but I found out I was carrying my son and it was already too cramped so we had to move out. I begged Work and Income for emergency housing and they put us in a motel.
"It was embarrassing having to ask for help like that. I've never felt so low. I have a lot of pride so asking for help like that is not something I do."
Te Rakohikohiko was in the motel for about three months.
"I was constantly thinking about how I'd have to move out. Every day I was on my phone looking for places, but with six children, even though I only have my twins on the weekends, I was getting declined. Nobody wanted to rent to someone with that many children.
"One day I got a knock at the door and it was Maria saying she was from LinkPeople. I didn't even know what LinkPeople was, but in three weeks Maria had found us a home.
"When I found out I was in tears crying because my kids would have a backyard to play in.
"There was so much relief, knowing I had a permanent home."
LinkPeople established their housing service in Rotorua last July. LinkPeople chief executive Christine Hall said while homelessness was complex, the company believed it could be solved when communities worked together.
"In Rotorua, we work alongside the Ministry of Social Development to help people access emergency housing, and we support people to find sustainable, permanent homes.
"Our Rotorua housing team have supported more than 100 households to find a permanent place to call home. Of those households, 10 were housed in January 2018."
She said 85 per cent of the homes LinkPeople had found for people were in the private rental market and 15 per cent were social housing.
"Having a home is a basic human right, and we're committed to finding homes for our whanau in Rotorua."