Like most parents, Ono and Ana* want only the very best for their children but finding a home for their family became a monumental challenge.
For six years Ono and Ana and their children had shared a house with other people but things started happening in the home that weren’t safe for the kids so, for their sake, they had to move out.
With nowhere to go, the family found themselves moving from one emergency accommodation to the next. At one point, all nine of them lived in one room of a three-bedroom house with 11 other people. As Ono explains:
“When you have nowhere to live, you’re always on the move, and you live in a state of constant stress – it never goes away. You have to think about things like, ‘Where are the local shops?’ ‘What school are the kids going to go to?’ ‘Is this a safe neighbourhood for our kids?’ And, each time you move, you have to settle your children into a new place.”
Ono and Ana are not alone in facing homelessness. New Zealand’s homelessness rate is the highest among the 35 high-income countries in the OECD.+
Thankfully, for Ono and Ana, someone suggested they contact Visionwest:
“When we came to Visionwest, for the first time in a long time we felt like someone actually listened to us. It felt good knowing someone cared. Our support worker phoned often to reassure us that she was pretty certain there would be a place for us if we could be patient for a little longer.”
The family will never forget the day they received the phone call to say there was a place for them at one of Visionwest’s houses, as Ono says:
“It felt like luxury. It was wonderful to look around the house and know we were going to be here for a while. For the first time in a long time, we felt like we had a home.”
Ono and Ana know their lives would have been very different without the support of Visionwest.
“The truth is, without Visionwest, we’d still be homeless. Our only choice would be a back-packers hostel or a caravan park where we’d have to sleep in our car. Moving into the house, lifted that brick of rejection off our shoulders. With that huge weight removed, we can focus on our children, on being a family, and creating a good life for our kids.”
It’s only through the generosity of donors and supporters that Visionwest can be here for families like Ono and Ana’s. Thank you so much for making this kind of transformational change possible.
* Meeting the needs of people who come to Visionwest for help with compassion, dignity, and manaakitanga is our top priority. We understand it is a great privilege when someone shares the story of their personal journey with us, so always seek their permission before sharing their story with others.
+ Source: The Borgen Project – September 2020.
On May 19th, 17 new two-bedroom Kāinga Ora units, to be managed by Visionwest, were opened in Blockhouse Bay. Five of the units are specifically for people with physical disabilities. The units will provide warm, safe and affordable homes for people who are experiencing homelessness – enabling them to take a giant step towards stability and security in their lives.