My dream is that we might receive a miracle regarding Robin’s health. We are certainly open to that but I’m also realistic. Beyond that, my hope is that I can keep Robin at home as long as I possibly can. I don’t want him having to be put into care but, for him to remain at home with me, we’ll need support. A while ago that felt a bit hopeless but now, with help from Visionwest Housing, I feel it’s most definitely possible.
For years Gwenda and Robin lived on a farm just out of Westport. Then Robin was diagnosed with an illness. They desperately wanted to move to Christchurch to be closer to family but couldn’t work out how they could ever afford to do that. Gwenda and Robin had been renting for a number of years; there was no way they could afford to buy a home and the regular Christchurch rental market was way too expensive. That’s when their daughter suggested we contact Visionwest.
Gwenda and Robin contacted Visionwest for information on what steps they’d need to go through to be considered for renting a Visionwest property. They were invited to call into Visionwest to complete the application process next time they visited Christchurch.
Knowing how popular Visionwest housing was, Gwenda and Robin returned home expecting to be put on a waiting list that could take a couple of years.
We were incredibly stressed and hounded by a sense of real urgency because of Robin’s illness. We were looking at houses through the rental market, but they were way out of our financial reach. All we wanted was to be closer to family at this challenging time in our lives.
Then, within just a few weeks, we received a call from Visionwest Housing to say there was a place available for us. We couldn’t believe it. Next time we went over to Christchurch we stopped off and had a look around the neighbourhood and saw the house from the outside. We never went inside until the day we moved in, but we didn’t mind, we were just thrilled that a place had been found.
What was really amazing was that we’d talked about the sort of house we would probably be placed in. In my imagination it was an older, rather rundown building in a rundown area. That would have been fine for us but to discover that our home was a new build in a new area was quite mind blowing.
Gwenda and Robin are quick to affirm that one of the best things about their new home is that it’s permanent. They know they won’t be suddenly asked to leave, and they tell everyone how wonderful it’s been to be able to settle in and make their house their own.
With Robin’s illness it’s important that he has somewhere stable that he’s able to recognise,” explains Gwenda. “We’ve been able to put our own stamp on this place with our own pictures and other things – things he recognises and will give him a sense of security and safety as his condition worsens.
We truly believe that Visionwest is a gift from God. They [Visionwest] are touching the lives of people who they then accept unconditionally and look after and pour love out on in a way that is a God-given gift.
It’s this love and support that Gwenda is most thankful for. She knows that, as Robin’s condition progresses, Visionwest will be there for them both providing, not just a house, but ongoing wraparound support for other things they may need.
Our family are close and caring but it’s great to know we also have Visionwest to link in with if we have an urgent need. Our Tenancy Manager drops in every second week to check that we’re okay. This is important now but will be even more important as time goes by.
We also have great support from neighbours. We are the leaders of our local Neighbours Support Group and it’s great to have been able to get to know people. We’ve even had a couple of incidents in the street where the ambulance has had to be called – that’s brought the community together. People have made friends with others and reminded one another that they are able to be contacted in case of future emergencies.
Gwenda knows she and Robin are in the best place for them at this stage of life. She freely shares that, if not for Visionwest, they would still be living on the West Coast, isolated from friends and family and miles from the health services that will become increasingly vital as Robin’s health deteriorates. She also acknowledges how stressful life had become for them because of their desire to move closer to family support but all the time feeling hopeless and never fully believing that this could ever happen.
While those challenging times are now behind them, Gwenda does still hold onto some hopes and dreams for the future.
My dream is that we might receive a miracle regarding Robin’s health. We are certainly open to that but I’m also realistic. Beyond that, my hope is that I can keep Robin at home as long as I possibly can. I don’t want him having to be put into care but, for him to remain at home with me, we’ll need support. A while ago that felt a bit hopeless but now, with help from Visionwest, I feel it’s most definitely possible.
Through all of this, we appreciate all that Visionwest does. The Visionwest Support Navigators and Tenancy Managers may think they don’t do a lot but for a couple like us but it’s a huge thing knowing people outside of our family really do care and are there to support us whatever happens.
Click here for more information about Visionwest Housing in Auckland and Canterbury.