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Family home has a new lease on life through Home Repairs

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29 Oct 2023
Family Home gets new lease of life Aotea home repair northern 2023

“People would ask us why we didn’t just get the running hot water fixed after a few years, but my husband always had dinner and a bath ready for me when I got home from work, so I didn’t miss it. I had grown up in the country, living off the land and boiling water in the copper for washing so this felt familiar. I know every nook and cranny in this house, which we originally purchased from my mother-in-law over 30 years ago and still adore. It is a house full of memories.

After my husband passed away last year, a few things started to fall apart. Those things that he used maintain and keep together. Not long after my daughter and granddaughter moved in to keep me company, we noticed the tap in the bathroom was dripping, dripping, then leaking, leaking, then running, running. A neighbour helped us to fix the leak and install a new sink in our bathroom, but it started leaking again earlier this year.

A colleague at work told me about Habitat, she knew quite a few people who had repairs done, so I contacted them.

It’s been a journey to get here. If anyone thinks this is going to be a quick fix, it’s not, you must fix your home and yourself first. You must maintain your house; it won’t do itself. I learnt how to budget and look at where my money was going and make the changes I needed to make.

I also went to a Habitat workshop where they talked about how to keep heat in your home and how humidity affects heat. The winter before that was bitterly cold, the house was damp and moldy, and my daughter ended up in the hospital because she was having trouble breathing. I had shed many tears trying to keep my house warm. I used to be concerned about wasting energy on devices like a heat pump or dehumidifier, but I now realize how inexpensive it is to keep them running at a consistent temperature.

My list of priorities when I learned that Habitat would be making the renovations included hot running water, a working shower, and the plumbing for it. I’m so excited about the shower. I don’t know why people take these things for granted. Through Habitat, I was able to get more repairs completed than I initially thought I could. We have a whole new bathroom, kitchen, laundry, the exterior fixed and painted, new windows to replace the cracked ones, new carpet and underlay and a fresh new paint job inside and out.

I used to wear two pairs of socks in bed just to sleep, now no more cold feet! Now, I feel like a weight has been lifted. The house is now light and airy. We sit here at night and admire it; I have this big goofy grin on my face all the time. It’s such a huge change, and it feels really good.

When you think of Habitat for Humanity you think of people in desperate need overseas you don’t think every day, working people like me need that sort of help, but we do.
We were just surviving before. Now it’s easy, easy to live.”

A big thanks for Te Puni Kōkiri, Dunlop and Godfrey Hirst for their support on this project.

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