Keeping a roof over my kids’ heads is impossible

Apr 24, 2018 | News

It’s not only addicts, or people with huge amounts of debt who find themselves with nowhere to live.

I’m a mum of two. I work, I pay my rent, I clean the house and I don’t smoke, don’t party and don’t own pets.

Yes, I do have two children, which I realise is my choice. I make sure they don’t miss out on the basics: I pay my bills, they’re fed and clothed. I’ll also point out that when I had them, housing was affordable and findable – I didn’t see a crisis looming.

What I don’t have is a secure home for them. We have spent the last four years going from ‘long term’ home to ‘long term’ home – only for it to be taken away from us because the landlord has either sold it or decided to move in.

I have been in my current home for a grand total of a month, after my previous house was sold. I have just been given 42 days to leave.

I don’t blame any of the landlords. Life happens and situations change.

But I am at my wits’ end wondering why it’s so damned hard to find long term security for my children.

You see, it wouldn’t matter if I had no children, 10 children, three dogs or drank all my money away.

I would find myself in the same scenario as above. Facing homelessness. Yet again.

I reiterate – I work, I pay my bills and I take care of my own. And for whatever reason – beyond my control – I’m falling at the basic hurdle of keeping a roof over my children’s heads.

If I can find the money I need for another letting fee and use it to relocate, will I find a job in this cheaper, more accessible environment? Will I find security and a long term home? There’s no guarantee. I could end up back at square one.

Housing NZ is clearly not an option – not until one is actually facing the streets. Today I was told I can’t even apply to apply for a home – that is, get an application to get on the waiting list – until I’ve spent a few weeks getting rejection letters from rentals.

What do I do?

The system is broken, and something has to be done. With my rent payments I should be able to afford a mortgage. I should HAVE a mortgage. But with so many tenancies ended too soon, my deposit is only a quarter of what it should be.

I doubt I’m the only one who works hard and does the right things and still finds themselves in a precarious living situation.

So where does one go from here? I don’t know what the solution to the system is, but I know it’s failing everyone at the moment – tenants and landlords. It’s failing would-be homebuyers who face extra hurdles just to get a deposit together.

All I know is that I feel sick to my stomach at the thought of yet again competing with multitudes of people and potentially ending up with nowhere left to go.

I don’t know how much more of this uncertainty I can take. My kids don’t deserve this. What kind of country are we bringing our children up in that we can’t even get basic housing right?

Read the story on Stuff here.

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