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Achieving strength, stability, and self-reliance

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03 Apr 2024
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Moving into his Habitat home last December was the best Christmas gift for sole parent, Boyce (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui).

He had just moved out of a respite facility and was facing an uncertain future in emergency housing.

As luck would have it, he had a property viewing for a Habitat rental home in Hamilton and was offered the house that day, moving in just a week later. The two-bedroom rental is now home to him, his five-year-old son, and his three-year-old son who comes and stays.

The property is managed by Habitat for Humanity Central Region, a Community Housing Provider who works with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to provide affordable rental options to people on the housing waitlist. Habitat Central manages more than 120 properties across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, and Hawke’s Bay. Boyce’s home is delivered in partnership with owners, Waikato Community Lands Trust.

This is Boyce’s first rental home and he’s enjoying having his own space. His previous living situations were in boarding houses or emergency housing, despite doing his best to secure a house.

“In 2022, that whole year I was in emergency housing in a motel and I was applying for 20 houses a week,” he says. “There were a few times where I couldn’t apply for houses because I’d already applied for all the ones I was able to afford.”

He says one of the challenges of finding a house is pushing yourself to the limit.

“That’s what a lot of people don’t do. They just lose motivation to keep searching for houses when they’re getting declined all the time – that’s what was happening with me.”

In February, Boyce upskilled himself through Habitat’s Ready to Rent course, which equips people with the knowledge and skills to secure a rental property and be a great tenant.

Delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, the two-day course covers topics including the rights and responsibilities of tenants, managing money, basic home maintenance, communicating with landlords, and avenues for support.

A highlight for Boyce was hearing from property manager Kerry, who cleared up some misconceptions people may have about property managers and gave an insight into how they accept new tenants.

He also enjoyed the session on landlord communication, delivered by Habitat Central Chief Executive Nic Greene, which helped him to consider the situation from the landlord’s perspective.

“Would you hand your keys to your car to a random person?” Boyce quotes Nic’s analogy about the trust needed between landlords and tenants.

A few months after moving in, Boyce is settled and is enjoying his home and the area. His older son is enrolled in a local school, and both his kids are happier. For Boyce, home is a safe haven, a place of peace.

But his housing journey doesn’t end here. Inspired by the stability his new home offers, he’s already got his eye on the next step: buying a home of his own one day.

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