Homeless in Whangarei

Watch the video above for the full report from The Hui.

More than 100 house viewings later, 50-year-old Harata Kay is still without a home.

Harata and her 68-year-old sister had to move out of their family home last year in October. Since then, they have struggled to find a rental property and were forced into emergency accommodation.

It's been nine months now and Harata is at breaking point.

"It's the hardest thing that anyone would have to go through, the not knowing where we're gonna go to from here - I've never had to look for a house or felt like I never had a home."

The elderly pair have also moved to Whangarei from Auckland to help with the search. The sisters have moved from six different motels and temporary accommodation in the last nine months.

The Government has spent more than $20 million on emergency accommodation grants in the first six months of this year, 10 times the amount of what they initially budgeted for.

Between looking after her sister who has a number of medical conditions and looking for a home, Harata was desperate - so her daughter Monica and girlfriend Marcia moved from Napier to help them out, but they too struggled to find somewhere to live. The young couple had no other option, so for six months they roughed it in their car.

"It was scary, knowing we're two females in a dark carpark. We'd sit there and wonder how many other people were doing this as well."

A lifeline would come in the form of a Whangarei businesswoman Karen Matich. With only two hours before being kicked out of their latest motel, the sisters found refuge at Airbnb. Their two-week stay has turned into three months.

The whole family are staying there and are forever grateful to Karen.

The clock is still ticking for Harata and her whanau. They need to find a permanent solution for their housing problem by the end of September, or be back at the emergency motels they know so well.

The Hui

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