Topic: Housing

PhD mum and kids forced to sleep in van

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

An Auckland mother and her three children have been forced to sleep in their van since February after being denied government housing assistance and unsuccessfully applying for 38 rentals.

Mary Moeke is a university lecturer and PhD student but she and her three children have no option but to sleep in their car.

"I have witnessed my children break down crying for nothing and then when I question them it's because they don't get it, they really have no idea why we're in this space right now and what's happening to us."

Being a single mother, Moeke's reached out to multiple government services to find a home, only to be told she doesn't qualify for assistance.

She says, "Because I don't meet their criteria I fall through the gaps and so do my children and as a result, we're living in our van."

Moeke has applied for nearly 40 rental properties for her and her three young sons in the last three months and has been denied every time.

"To be turned down by 38 private as well as non-private real estate agents and landlords has been really disheartening," she says.

Te Puea Marae Manaaki Tangata Chairman Hurimoana Dennis says Moeke represents a growing group of middle-class people affected by Auckland's homeless crisis. He says families like hers fall through cracks in the system.

Dennis says, “There is no strategy for them and no options for families like these because their situation is different.”

Dennis says that although families are usually referred to them by the services, Te Puea Marae will look at ways to support Mary Moeke and her family.