Kushla and Duran’s Visionwest housing story began when they became part of the Canterbury Community Housing whānau. Here’s what’s happened since.
We lived in a rented property but that went pear-shaped with the rental costs and other factors. When we had to move out, we ended up spending two years just hopping around from place to place. First it was with my mother, then my aunty. It’s tough living with family though. It’s so cramped and that can cause relationships you value to get strained.
Eventually we were staying in emergency accommodation in various motels; we’ve stayed in quite a few. By the time we got to the last motel we lived in our girls were travelling an hour and a bit each way to and from school. They were so tired, and it wasn’t the best situation, but they had changed schools so many times – three times in two years – that we just didn’t have the heart to move them away from their friends again. We believe stability is important for children.
We were living in a motel when a WINZ caseworker said she’d heard Visionwest Community Housing had a house available that would suit our whānau. She pushed us to go for an interview.
After that, things happened so fast. Next thing, we were living here. It’s so awesome.
For me the future is all about being a good father. My background is not great. I was in a gang and even did time. Leaving my kids was so hard and I wanted something better for them. That’s why I made the decision for us to move down here [Christchurch]. We’re back together as a family now and that’s all that matters.
Now that we have a stable home and support from Visionwest, it feels like the storms of life are calming and I can see a light for our future; that all began with having a roof over our heads. Now I can focus on getting a job – I’m willing to work at anything and Kushla would like to do the computing course with MSD.
One of the awesome things with being part of Visionwest Community Housing is that it’s about more than just a house. Food is a big challenge for us and about once a month, we reach out to our Support Navigator and get a food parcel. But it’s more than that. It’s about having the support to make the good decisions we need to make at this time of life.
For a while, we felt a bit in limbo because we don’t know when we will get a permanent house and we were thinking this was a real barrier to moving ahead. But then we said, “No! That’s not a barrier. You can still do stuff.” So, we’re making plans for the future and moving forward with our lives and with achieving things.
We’ve been together for 15 years and feel like we know where we went wrong, now we just focus on doing what is right. It’s great to have support and, because of that, we feel like we’re on the right path. Having support goes a long way to changing things.
A housing story with housing support
Liz [our Support Navigator] has been amazing. You get people who will help you because that’s their job, but Liz goes beyond that. That’s how we know that she really cares and is supporting us. Leanne is our Tenancy Manager and she’s awesome too.
The truth is, if we’d been just left alone in this house, we would have failed.
Our only regret is that we didn’t hear about Visionwest Community Housing sooner and that some of our friends who were struggling to find housing hadn’t heard about Visionwest.
Our biggest dream now is to have a permanent place to live home. One where we can say to our girls, “This is it! This is your permanent home.” It will be great to have a stable house in a suburb we can call home and the girls in the local school with friends they can grow up with.
Find out more about Visionwest Community Housing.