Auckland PhD student has to sleep in van with kids

An Auckland lecturer has been forced to sleep in her van with her three children since February.

Mary Moeke is a lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology, a PhD student and a single mother.

She has applied for 38 rental properties in the last three months without success.

She told Māori Television she's been rejected by both private and non-private real estate agents and landlords, an experience she describes as "disheartening".

She has also been told she doesn't qualify for housing assistance from the Government, despite parenting on a single income. Her family has run out of options, leaving them in a desperate situation.

"Because I don't meet their criteria, I fall through the gaps and so do my children, and as a result, we're living in our van."

Her three boys sleep in the boot of the vehicle, while she takes the driver's seat.

Ms Moeke says being homeless has been upsetting and confusing for her young family.

"I have witnessed my children break down crying for nothing, and then when I question them it's because they don't get it, they really have no idea why we're in this space right now and what's happening to us."

Hurimoana Dennis, chairman of Te Puea Marae's homelessness programme Manaaki Tangata, told Māori Television that more and more middle-class Auckland families are finding themselves left behind by the system.

"There is no strategy for them and no options for families like these because their situation is different."


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