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Not all homes have four walls

Aug 5, 2022

Michelle who has been living on a Waiheke houseboat named Peace Seeker, is now warmer after receiving support from the Healthy Homes Programme.

Michelle values the Waiheke community, a reason why she made it her home. She said, “I feel really held within this little motu. There is a good a bunch of people here from all walks of life. But living on a houseboat isn’t without its quirks.”

Michelle, whose houseboat is permanently moored amongst Mangroves, explained that living on a houseboat can be challenging, especially in winter. “There’s a mezzanine so I sleep at the top of the space which I’ve realised is possibly the coldest place, as heat travels out of the roof and there’s no insulation in the walls. Last year, I was freezing and I thought, there is no way I want to be that cold again. It’s been such a wet winter, mould had started growing everywhere.”

After seeing an advert on Facebook, Michelle contacted Habitat, who completed a full in-boat assessment, providing double-lined curtains to keep her home warm.

Michelle said, “The whole process worked out so perfectly. They did the assessment at the start of the winter when it was starting to get colder, installed the curtains along with giving me practical tips on dealing with mould. I’m redoing the carpet on the flooring and made sure to stock up on wood for my wood burner. I’m making it cosy so that I don’t get caught out again.”

“I’ve noticed quite a big difference since the curtains have been up. When the fire is on, and the curtains are drawn it is different. I can physically go into one of the spaces and then think, wow, the difference is uncanny. You don’t realise it’s that cold. You adopt that kind of mentality, ‘She’ll be right, I’ll just deal with it,’ said Michelle.