Walter was born a stone’s throw away from the Visionwest house he now lives in, the journey from his boyhood home to this one has not been easy, but it has brought a true life-transformation.
“It’s been a long journey for me,” says Walter. Sitting on the deck of his Visionwest house, he points across the road, “I used to live just over there. I played in these streets and on these sections but that was a long time ago.”
The boy who lived over the road went on to experience some tough times. “I started sniffing when I was seven and a half years old and spent most my younger life on drugs or alcohol.”
Walter talks of coming to a time in his life when he became sick and tired of his lifestyle. “Having gone through rehab a couple of times, I’d experienced short periods of sobriety and I liked it. Those were good times. Looking at people around me I saw their lives were going nowhere and then I realised, my life was just like theirs.” That’s when Walter made a decision.
I decided the way I was living was a waste and that, if I was serious about turning my life around, I needed to move somewhere safe, away from bad influences, and back to my roots. I decided I wanted to move back out West.
Walter came to Visionwest because he’d met many people who spoke highly about the support they received there. He was welcomed by staff at the Whānau Centre who introduced him to a member of Visionwest’s Community Housing team. Walter says it was the first time anyone ever listened seriously to his story and his desire to create a new life for himself. Soon he was placed in a Visionwest house.
“Visionwest helped me get real with myself. I’m an everyday person now. I have a home and a car.
If I need help, I go to Visionwest and there is always someone who will listen. I’m not alone anymore.”
Walter’s life has been transformed to the point where even he is amazed at who he’s become. His long-term goal is simple, it’s to be the best grandfather he can be to prevent his mokopuna walking down the road he did.
Find out more about Visionwest Community Housing – click here.