Nathan Beale looks after families for some relatively new initiatives for VisionWest in Christchurch.
He says there are already dozens of stories of gratifying outcomes for those struggling in the region.
“An Afghani Family came to our service from MSD. They had just lost their two-year-old child under tragic circumstances, the mother was overcome with grief and was very depressed.
“VisionWest was able to work around the complexities with the language barrier, and worked to get a Housing NZ property through our contacts with HNZ property Managers.
“We did a lot of work with HNZ to get a property close to the Afghani community, to assist with the trauma the family had faced (and to ensure they had the adequate supports to deal with their grief).
VisionWest social workers were able to assist with getting paperwork completed for the family, who had difficulty with translation.
“For the first time in a long while we saw a smile on the mother’s face and the other children in the family had a bright future.”
Nathan talks about another family facing huge challenges.
“This was a family with two adults and nine children who came into our Emergency housing. The ninth child had just been born. They had been in the same Housing NZ property for 20 years, and had recently lost the tenancy due to rent arrears.
“The father was working and they were consistently paying the rent, until Mum got pregnant with their ninth child. Major complications with the pregnancy meant that the father had to finish work to help look after the family. They then had issues with paying the rent, and eventually were evicted for rental arrears.
“The child eventually was born with Down syndrome and other heart complications and it was a miracle the baby survived.
“The family had to give their children to other family members all over the country to house them, as they had no way of housing them all together.
“The family was provided with support from a VisionWest social worker whilst at our emergency accommodation. The social worker also engaged the family with other agencies, including support for the teenagers around behavioural issues, outpatient services, and support for their baby’s various health complexities.
“VisionWest then addressed the housing need by discussing with Housing NZ, and finding a solution and we eventually located them a six bedroom property in Christchurch.
“The family is now settled, all together again for the first time in three months, and supported by the various engagements with agencies in Christchurch, and can now confidently sustain their tenancy long term.”