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Like many places around Aotearoa, Housing is an issue in our community. There is huge pressure on the rental market with rental prices sky rocketing. This places our community’s most vulnerable - like our young people living independently and young parents, often at the bottom of the rental pecking order.
Bella is 17 years old living independently after a family breakdown one year ago. Bella has a history of sexual abuse and mental health challenges alongside disengagement from mainstream education.
After difficulties in her flat Bella ran out of accommodation options and as a last resort her worker assisted her in finding emergency housing in a local motel. During her first two weeks in emergency housing the practitioner assisted her to explore more stable and affordable accommodation – including both renting and boarding options. Over this time nothing was found and after her two week stay in the motel Bella faced paying back a large debt to Work and Income if she chose to apply for another emergency housing grant to continue her stay.
Bella’s worker discussed with her the realities of living in a motel over the phone one evening before closing. Bella texted the worker the next morning to say she would still like to stay on in the motel. The practitioner’s chief concern was that Bella would never be able to pay the debt back that she would accumulate by living in a motel. The practitioner raised her concerns with a colleague. They then met with Bella to discuss in all the options and the implications. On paper together they brainstormed all the possible options Bella could see as safe temporary accommodation options.
Bella then reached her own decision. She used her own resources to find a safe Aunty to live with for the immediate future while she continued her house search.The worker assisted Bella to exercise autonomy in her decision making while respectfully intervening to encourage alternatives that would provide more positive outcomes for Bella. The worker identified the need for adaptability in the intervention - talking through the options over the phone with Bella the night before was not sufficient for Bella to understand the reality of her situation.
The practitioner took an action-oriented approach to working with Bella to find a practical sustainable living solution. Agency was used in respectfully encouraging Bella to be part of her own decision making. Last update Bella has moved from her Auntie’s place to an independent, one bedroom cottage on a shared property with a young couple.
Resilience Research Centre NZ - Youth Research Site 2013