Doreen loves her warm, brand new home – it’s a far cry from sleeping in her car. She is one of 14 people and families to move into brand new units in Eveleyn Couzins Ave, Christchurch.
Escaping an abusive relationship made Doreen and her daughter Tisharn homeless.
Doreen’s mother had recently died, so the pair were forced to sleep in a car for about three weeks before finding emergency accommodation. They stayed there for six months.
Now, the mother and daughter have a permanent, warm and brand new home.
"I love it, because it’s my own," Doreen said.
"It just feels really awesome. It’s mine. I won’t have to be homeless or think about anything like that anymore."
Theirs is one of the 14 new two-bedroom units at Eveleyn Couzins Ave in Richmond, which has now officially opened.
Children played cricket and softball on the freshly sown communal lawn while residents came together with neighbours and Housing New Zealand staff for afternoon tea. The new homes complete the second and final part of the complex, joining 23 one-bedroom units and a large common room.
A key goal of the new complex is continuing to enrich communities. Members of the Richmond Community Garden attended and mingled with tenants who were getting to know each other better.
"This is about building a community for our people, but it’s also about building a community for Richmond and Eveleyn Couzins as well," said Area Manager Fraser Benson.
"With this space, it’s about making sure there aren’t two separate communities. We want our people to interact with each other and I can already see that’s happening, so it’s fantastic."
Each of the new two-bedroom units has its own parking space, and careful consideration has been taken with storm and wastewater storage systems. A 12,300-litre waste water storage tank, purpose-designed rain garden and storm water storage system has been installed to manage disposal from the complex.
Project Manager David James, who worked with builders Constructa on the second stage of the development, said the design emphasised the desired community spirit. Central community outdoor areas and a large common room encouraged people to come together.
Developers were also conscious of fitting in with the existing aesthetic of Eveleyn Couzins Ave.
"As you come into the street, the way we’ve designed it and the way we’ve kept the original trees means it doesn’t stand out too much," he said.
"It nicely blends in with the existing environment."