Moving into a brand new Housing New Zealand home has been life-changing for Angelica Meads and her family. Angelica and her partner Shaidde McKenzie now have a suitable place to raise their five boys. She says the kids are so much healthier and happier in the warm, modern, four-bedroom Blockhouse Bay home.
“When we got here, they just went crazy. They said, ‘Mum, this is cool as’,” says Angelica.
“I’m so happy that our children can walk in the door and call it their home,” adds Shaidde.
The family has not had an easy road to their new home. They had been living in a three-bedroom West Auckland house with eight others. The arrangement was taking a serious toll on the wellbeing of the couple’s five sons, aged one to nine years, who all have asthma. It came to a head when one-year-old Tyrelle contracted pneumonia and stopped breathing while Angelica was on the phone to emergency services waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
“That was the scariest moment. I nearly lost him that day.”
Angelica and Shaidde, who have been together 12 years, spent months searching for a suitable private rental that they could afford, but to no avail.
Due to their living conditions and health, the family was at high risk of contracting rheumatic fever, a serious illness that can result in life-threatening heart disease. They were on the verge of giving up hope when they got a call from Housing New Zealand, saying they had been fast-tracked to receive a brand new state home in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland.
“Honestly, even getting that phone call was just amazing. When they rang and said we have a property we want you to look at, I just started crying. I was over the moon – you couldn’t feel more blessed with where we’ve come from.”
The home is designed and built to modern standards and features double-glazing, insulation and contemporary materials and fittings inside and out. One of 13 new homes that replaced four old state houses, it is warm and dry with plenty of space for the family of seven.
Days after moving into the new house, the family was still in a state of disbelief.
“We didn’t believe it was ours,” Angelica says. “We actually had to keep touching the walls to realise it was ours; that it was real. We’re all blessed.”
Living in the new home has seen a marked improvement in the boys’ health and wellbeing.
“Since we’ve moved here, we’ve had no coughs, no fevers. The kids were very clingy before and didn’t like to communicate with others, but now they’ll reach out to people – I’ve noticed that a lot,” Angelica says.
“Seeing what we’ve come from to this and the smiles on the children’s faces – that’s a big difference for a mum. It’s an amazing feeling.”