We lived in Royal Oak and Panmure before we came here. We have encountered many issues with the places we have lived – problems with rats, damp and cold, dripping windows. We have had to wash the walls down regularly to control the mould. The lack of space was an issue, with two growing children and the very close proximity of neighbours, we found it hard to relax. The most difficult thing was the lack of security. With every house inspection we felt nervous about the outcome – we worried about rent increases or even if we would have to move again. We did what we had to do but have since realised it wasn’t a good situation. We were living very much in survival mode. We had basically given up hope in ever owning our own place.
One day my sister told me about the Housing Foundation. Some friends of hers had moved out of private rental into the programme and had said it was helping them. When I heard this, I didn’t wait long to apply. We didn’t have enough money for a deposit at the beginning, but we applied anyway to the Housing Foundation programme and spent the next few years growing our KiwiSaver accounts, saving what we could and moving houses to fit better within our budget.
Basically, we followed the steps and did what we were told in the programme. We still lived with a lack of hope—we struggled to believe this was going to happen. Every step of the way we wondered if we even deserved to own our own place. We knew there were people worse off than us and thought, who are we to own a home?
Despite our disbelief, the day eventually arrived when we received the keys to our new home and we were hit with the realisation that this was actually happening. It was a big commitment. We felt the fear of having taken on a mortgage and worrying something would go wrong. There were also the usual feelings we were familiar with of being displaced and having to start again in another community. But this time there was some relief in knowing this would be a place for us to rest; somewhere that would actually become home. We felt and still feel so grateful.
We have come to realise it is okay for us to have a home. In fact, it is important that we do. This place is like a springboard for our family, a place to go out from, to help others and to be a part of our community.
The mortgage payments are less than we would be paying to rent a house of the equivalent size. We are managing well. We set up a budget and we are keeping to that. This place, this space, is working for our family. It is amazing. Within it we have places to work, to live and to play.
Our parents were not able to help us financially with getting into a home. We hadn’t really heard other people’s stories of buying a house—it’s not something people around us talked about. We looked around at others buying homes and wondered how they were doing it. It looked like this was the only opportunity for us, we either do this, or keep renting, or move out of Auckland. Thanks to the Housing Foundation, here we are in our own home.