As an 18-year-old, Hine was living on the street. Three years later, she is securely housed in an immaculately kept West Auckland flat managed by Visionwest. Friendly and articulate, she says her biggest goal is finding a regular job and, one day, moving into a place she owns.
In recent weeks, Visionwest Community Housing tenants have been featured in “Off the Ladder,” a series of stories on the Stuff website detailing the housing challenges faced by many New Zealanders. The latest story featured Hine.
One of the younger members of the Visionwest whānau, Hine is, as a Māori woman, part of an ethnic group that experiences homelessness or severe housing deprivation at a rate four to five times that of European New Zealanders, according to the Stuff series which quotes research from the University of Otago.
Hine spent her teen years in the care of CYFS, now Oranga Tamariki, before being dropped off on her sister’s doorstep as a 17-year-old. Her sister was aged just 25 and a single mum with a young baby meaning the living situation was untenable for Hine – she moved out telling family she was staying with friends. In reality, she was living on the streets, spending her nights jumping between bus stops.
After time spent living with her mother in Gore, Hine returned to Auckland and, in May 2020, through the Housing First programme, she was placed in a Visionwest flat. She is now looking for a job and enjoying a more settled lifestyle.
“I feel like having a house puts you in place more, it makes you want to go out and be more motivated,” says Hine. “I would like to have my own little place one time, my own actual place where, rather than renting, maybe I could buy my own house.”
The Stuff story concludes with a quote from Fred Astle, Visionwest head of Māori development, “Hine’s story shines the light on the issue of homelessness and housing facing our people. More must be done to ensure that young taonga like Hine never end up on the streets in the first place.”
CLICK HERE to read the full Stuff article.