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The price(lessness) of a safe, secure home

Published on 26/02/2024

CORT housing v2

Maria* lives in a one-bedroom apartment at Community of Refuge Trust’s (CORT) development in Takanini, and credits the positive changes in her life to having a safe, secure home. 


'I've been living here for about a year and a half, and a lot has happened in that time," Maria reflects. 'I've got back into working, and am now looking at starting my own business. Before this, I was living in a CORT development in Ōtāhuhu for about a year, but I wanted to be closer to my family, so as soon as a place came up in Takanini, it was offered to me'.


Describing her time in Ōtāhuhu as her "incubation period," Maria explains 'that's where I did all my healing. I did a lot of walking in the local parks and took time for myself, doing artwork and cooking new recipes — a lot of therapeutic things, really trying to get over my anxiety. Having somewhere safe to live was such a big step up'.


Before Maria got involved with CORT, she had been living in another social housing development, in a tiny studio apartment. "It was an unhealthy environment,' she recalls. 'There was violence, and I was surrounded by drug users and negative energy. It wasn't a safe place for me'.


Comparing her current living space to her previous one, Maria notes, 'The place I am living now is almost two times the size of my studio apartment, and it has a sliding outside door and a balcony. Being close to the shops is also a bonus. It's encouraged me to get out more and to get myself set up properly'.


Maria can see the positive impact her new home has had on her life. 'Doing small things to help myself has really helped me move on to bigger things, like not being scared to put myself forward and apply for jobs. My friendship group has become a lot tighter, and I've reconnected with people since I've had a home where I can have friends come over'.


'With all of the healing I've been able to do, I feel like it's time to get back out into the world,' says Maria expressing a newfound confidence. 'I've applied for jobs and built my confidence up, and now I want to set up my own business, doing nails. I almost don't want it to become too successful because then I'd have to move out of my great home! But then at least I'd know it would be going to someone else who would really appreciate it'.

* The name has been changed to protect the tenant’s privacy.
Original story published in Community Finance Annual Report 2023.