Local Success Stories
With your support we are giving a hand up to families around New Zealand
Buster and Family
Habitat partners with local Motueka family to help them achieve housing dreamLearn More
Buster and FamilyBuster, Natalie and their three children Aaliyah-Jade (6), Malakai (4) and Zaylah (8mths) are the latest whanau to become Habitat partner families through our Progressive Home Ownership Programme. Living in a cold, damp, 2-bedroom state home in Motueka, the pair were thrilled when one night they saw an ad pop up on Facebook from Habitat seeking expressions of interest from whanau experiencing housing need for two new homes being built in Motueka. Natalie recalls, “We had tried to apply for a house previously with the bank, but they told us that we wouldn’t qualify. We were so heartbroken.” “When this opportunity with Habitat came up, I just thought we need to give this a go, otherwise we’re never going to be able to get our foot in the door.” After coming along to one of Habitat’s information sessions, filling in the application form and going through the rigorous selection process, Buster and Natalie were over the moon when they found out they were selected to become one of Habitat’s partner families! “We felt so overwhelmed when we found out we were going to become a Habitat partner family – I just went silent. I cried happy tears!” “Everyone was so happy and excited, especially the kids to have their own bedrooms! Bedtime is now so much easier. It used to take hours and they would always fight with each other, but now they’re in their own bed they just settle down so much quicker.” Before partnering with Habitat, Natalie and Buster’s children would suffer periodically with health problems as a result of their housing, with the kids often having to go to the doctors due to chest infections and ending up on inhalers and antibiotics. “We would have to run the dehumidifier all the time and it would collect heaps of water just in their bedroom, because it would never see the sun.” “We definitely notice a big difference being here already, noticing how dry it is, just walking into the room. It was just always cold in our house and constantly damp. There’s no condensation in our new home and the extra space is amazing – it feels a lot more like a home. Like a proper home.” Through Habitat’s Progressive Home Ownership Programme, Buster and Natalie will partner with Habitat on a 5-year journey to become homeowners. Habitat works on the model of offering a hand-up to whanau in housing need. Helping them to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance that comes from having a decent, secure and affordable place to call home.
Habitat home life-changing for Motueka familyLearn More
StormBefore partnering with Habitat for Humanity Nelson through its Progressive Home Ownership Programme Storm and her two children Delphi (10) and Zkaia (12) would bounce from house to house due to insecure rental tenancies. The longest stay they had at a rental property was 3 or 4 years. After a short stint living in a campervan, Storm relates that the last house they were in was one of the worst living conditions they had ever experienced. Riddled with black mould, dampness and leaks, it was a daily struggle just to keep her whanau warm, particularly during the colder months. “If I had been able to look at that house and had the freedom to choose what we wanted, I would have looked at that house and been like no way are we living in this,” says Storm. “It was a ¼ acre filled with crap and it was right next to the pub.” “I ended up crying when we were cleaning the house, because we were scrubbing black mould off the ceiling, wood rot all around the shower – and I just had that realisation that my kids had been living in that for almost three years… I used to think I must have just been super lazy, because no matter what you did the house would never look clean – it always just looked old and dusty. Our old shower used to grow mushrooms over the winter because there was wood.” As a consequence of their substandard housing, Storm and her whanau’s lives were negatively impacted in multiple ways. “There were all these ripple effects just from basic things and my kids health was just not good. I think looking back, my mental health was also negatively impacted and I suppose as well because I was left in that old house coming out of a long-term relationship and then having to try and navigate my way through life – and in a house like that I felt stuck. And just even our family unit, we were quite detached from each other because we had such limited space. My kids were both sharing a bedroom – my son’s 13 this year and my daughter’s 10 so it was just a nightmare. So I would let them take over the lounge so that one of them could have the lounge and one of them could have the bedroom and I’d just sort of hide away in the bedroom and read or watch something.” After 3 years of living in an unhealthy home, Storm felt stuck. However, after hearing about Habitat’s Progressive Home Ownership Programme through a friend, Storm found a glimmer of hope. After some gentle nudging and support from a friend, Storm went along to one of the Habitat information sessions, filled in an application form and a couple of months later found out she was going to be selected as a Habitat partner family! “When Jerri phoned me to tell me I had been successful in my application it was a real shock and I didn’t know how to react. It took a while to sink in.” The move into a Habitat home has been life-changing for Storm and her whanau. “This whole process, it’s just changed everything. It’s even affected the way we get up in the morning. I just couldn’t function in a cold house, but I didn’t realise that until we were here. Now we’re getting up at 6am in the morning and having breakfast together and weirdly I’ve been on time to work every day since I’ve been here. I used to live behind my work and would always be running 5 minutes late. It’s just crazy to think that basic things like good housing can literally change your life. I’ve got a different kind of stability now which I can offer to my parents as well, which they have both never had. From pretty much the moment we moved in I just had this feeling of being settled and felt like this was where we were supposed to be.” Living in a warm, dry and stable home is one of the basic foundations for mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Having experienced insecure and unhealthy housing, Storm and her whanau now know first-hand the difference a decent, affordable home can make.
Karen and Richard
Karen and Richard find strength and stability for their whanau through Habitat's Progressive Home Ownership ProgrammeLearn More
Karen and RichardKaren and Richard Holman and their three children are the latest whanau to become homeowners through Habitat’s Progressive Home Ownership Programme. Karen and Richard’s journey was a unique one, in that rather than building a new home, an older home was relocated and renovated. In a remarkable turn of events, Karen was gifted a home on the condition that she would need to relocate it herself. After contacting Habitat for Humanity and going through the application process, Karen and Richard became a Habitat Partner Family. “The reason we got gifted the building is because the people that owned it were going to rebuild. We didn’t really realise the enormity of the work that needed to be done until we had the home,” recounts Karen. Karen and Richard’s journey to home ownership was a difficult one. After suffering a traumatic birth experience, Karen developed PTSD and for many years struggled with intense anxiety. After moving back to Nelson from the Hawkes Bay to be closer to friends, Karen and Richard, with their three children and 2 dogs, found themselves living in a house truck. As a result, Karen’s condition began to deteriorate. “That Christmas we were so broke we wrapped Christmas presents in newspaper and we had to go to The Salvation Army to get presents,” remembers Richard. “That’s how serious it was. I think we moved down with $5000 and it doesn’t last long as you can imagine. After contacting Housing New Zealand, the Holman’s were lucky enough to get a house. However, due to the condition of the home, Karen’s health continued to suffer. “The house had classic Housing New Zealand issues. Black mould, dampness – it was so bad.” Karen was at breaking point. She recalls, “My anxiety became so bad that I could barely leave the house.” The breakthrough came when Karen found an old antique pram online and after contacting the seller to purchase, she walked away with not just a pram – but a house! “The women came out and met me outside and I commented, “Oh you’ve got such a beautiful old house,” And she said, “Well we’re going to rebuild and this house has to go. So if you can literally pick this thing up and move it, it’s yours.” So began Karen and Richard’s home-ownership journey with Habitat. “This process has been more than just a house. This was an amazing healing journey. I don’t know looking back if I would have really gotten through it. Through the pain and the doubt. Without this home, it would have taken me a lot longer to bounce back on my feet,” says Karen. Through the whole process Habitat became our family. They provided us with a hand up, not a hand out. That’s the real difference with Habitat.” Through Habitat’s Progressive Home Ownership Programme Karen, Richard and their whanau were able to find the strength and stability to overcome life’s challenges, providing them with a newfound hope for the future.
Ning Ching Story
From cold, damp rentals to a warm, dry and affordable home.Learn More
Ning Ching StoryAfter a 5-year partnership with Habitat, the Ning Chings have settled on their home to become first time homeowners! Originally from Myanmar, the Ning Chings were forced to flee due to the country’s violent military regime. Fearing for the safety of his family, Cung Tha Uk Ning Ching made the decision to say goodbye to his home, family and friends and to travel across country to Thailand. Once in Thailand he then went on to Malaysia and from there was able to reconnect with his wife. “It was very hard,” Ning Ching remembers, “as we didn’t have passports, which made it an incredibly risky journey.” When they arrived in Malaysia they were able to receive help from UNHCR and were given refugee status. “I was very lucky.” Ning Ching remembers. “I was interviewed by New Zealand immigration and then after a very long interview process me and my family were accepted as refugees to New Zealand. I came to New Zealand with my wife and my sons in 2007. When we came to NZ it was a big change for us.” After going through the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Programme, the Ning Chings were relocated to Nelson to start a new life as New Zealand citizens. The Ning Chings rented for many years living in a number of homes that were cold and damp, negatively impacting on their family’s health. “Our old house was really cold, we were always cold, especially in the winter and didn’t get much sun.” Ning Ching recalls. After hearing about Habitat’s Assisted Home Ownership Programme through a friend, the Ning Chings decided to go along to one of Habitat’s Information Meetings to learn more. Ning Ching and his wife filled in an application form and two months later they were officially selected to become one of the next Habitat partner families! Five years later, the Ning Chings have purchased their home from Habitat and have gained stability and security for their family. “We live in a nice neighbourhood now and it gets a lot of sun which has been really good for our health. It’s also a great area for our children. My boy can walk to college now as it’s really close. It’s been just amazing. We finally feel settled.” By partnering with New Zealand families such as the Ning Chings, Habitat’s Assisted Home Ownership Programme helps to provide strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter for families who would have otherwise been locked out of the housing market.
Doug and Laura
The Pendergrast family buy a home through Progressive Home Ownership.Learn More
Doug and LauraFrom house dedication to final settlement, Ngaruawahia’s Pendergrast family’s progressive home ownership journey has been truly amazing. The Pendergrasts are a true example of how dedication and motivation can bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. “Neither of our parents owned their own homes, so I didn’t think it was ever going to happen for us,” said Laura. Doug (33), Laura (27) and children Thomas (7), Theodore (5), Katherine (3) and Elizabeth (1), recently became homeowners after just four years of being with Habitat for Humanity’s progressive home ownership programme. Manufacturing supervisor Doug and homemaker and baker Laura had poor living conditions when they approached Habitat for Humanity Central North Island 2015. “It was mouldy and had no insulation. Thomas’ bassinet kept getting mould growing on it and I was like, no, we can’t stay; it is a health risk” Laura said. The Pendergrasts moved in to their Habitat home in 2015 and began the rental stage of their home ownership journey. “I remember sitting on the corner chair and thinking, this is my blank canvas and we can do whatever we like”, she said. For Laura, growing up in rented houses and previously moving six times in two years she was now proud that their names were on the house title. “Doug and Laura Pendergrast. We own this house. Something’s gone wrong? That’s cool. We can fix it. It’s up to us. We are responsible,” Laura said. “It’s an amazing opportunity. It got us where we are faster and to a higher point quicker.” The Progressive Home Ownership programme sees families help to build, finish and paint a simple, decent home alongside volunteers and trades, before renting the home for five years. With conditions, they will then work towards home ownership within 10 years, using the rent paid less Habitat’s costs as part of their deposit. Being one of the few families to go ahead with settlement in less than five years, the Pendergrasts have set a great example of reaching their goal by being financially conscious. “It helped us to be responsible with our money, too” Doug said. “Having a target especially when you are looking to mortgage…you actually gonna be really structured.” Talking about the future, Doug and Laura said that this is the “first step” towards their big goal. They plan to renovate the house to build more equity and use it to buy more property. Their dream is to own a beautiful villa one day in the countryside with some orchards and animals.
Jesse and Sherradon
A new home for the Kennedy family in Ngaruawahia.Learn More
Jesse and SherradonFuture homeowners Jesse and Sherradon Kennedy were looking forward to the warmth, space and convenience of a newly dedicated Habitat for Humanity Central North Island home in Ngaruawahia. The Kennedy whanau – Jesse (Ngapuhi), Sherradon (Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Toa) and children Evelyn (5), Nathan (4), Hayzel (2) and Zoey (1) – welcomed family, friends and supporters to their Habitat home recently for a dedication ceremony. Sherradon said they’d been given 90 days’ notice by their previous landlord to move out of their “pretty squashy” uninsulated and cold house. It was too small for the family, especially during summer when one of the three ‘bedrooms’ (a loft) became too hot to use. The children were frequently sick through winter, which the couple found difficult to juggle, and Jesse also struggled with asthma and eczema. While Sherradon said the younger children were oblivious to the change in the family’s life, the older children were excited – Nathan, to have his own room in the new four-bedroom home, and Evelyn (“a very sociable girl”) happy to see her school friends more often. They had been renting in Hamilton, but schooling for the children was in Ngaruawahia, where they wanted to settle. Habitat for Humanity Central North Island built the home using its own tradespeople and supporters including Alpha Electrical and CF Reese. Habitat sponsor Fujitsu supplied a heat pump, and all paint was also provided by sponsor Dulux. Habitat and the Kennedy’s were supported by volunteers and friends to help get the home finished. Habitat Central North Island board member Heather Claycomb was please to help cut the ribbon at the dedication celebration. On the day of their home dedication, Sherradon said she was amazed at the warmth of their home without any heating on – and this would be the first time they’d lived with double-glazed windows. “Now that we’re here we can spend some time getting to know people – I’m really excited to be part of our school community,” Sherradon said, and Jesse, an outdoors enthusiast, was firstly looking forward to having the Hakarimata Summit track just up the road. “I actually am,” he said. “But I’m excited mostly just to be settled in a home that’s warm, dry and we don’t have to worry about getting kicked out… with space to actually fit the kids in without having to stress out about them getting sick every single winter.” Besides the immediate practical benefits, the family was pleased to be able to spend time in the community getting to know people better, and socialising with the neighbours. And as Habitat sets rents at no more than 30 per cent of household income, Sherradon said “it’s really good money-wise, because Jesse is studying, and we’re not going to have to be super stressed out.” She has plans to study and become a physiotherapist when the children are a bit older, and Jesse is currently studying sport and exercise science, with plans to go on to do his master’s. Habitat for Humanity Central North Island General Manager Nic Greene said the home dedication for the Kennedy family was an important and special milestone.
“This is an exciting time for the Kennedy’s, and while it might seem like the end of a journey for them to move in, their home ownership story and the ‘hard work’ is just beginning.”Greene said the programme’s selection process was “stringent”, and focused on a family’s “willingness to partner, potential to succeed and existing housing need.”
“We are very much looking forward to celebrating more successes with the Kennedy’s as we walk alongside them through this journey, and I have no doubt they will thrive as future homeowners.”
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