Family with disabled children forced to live in tent in Edgecumbe

A family of seven, including two disabled children, have been forced to live in a tent in Edgecumbe, for more than half a year.

It's a sign of just how bad our housing crisis has become and how difficult it is to find a place to rent in 2019.  

No power, running water and no solid roof over their heads - that has been the reality for the Redding family for seven months.

"It gets quite hard. I do have my breakdowns but we have to be happy, for the kids sake," said Gail Reeding told Newshub.

It's home to the grandmother, her two daughters, and four grandchildren. The youngest is six-year-old Shyanne, who is severely disabled. She suffers a rare condition and needs specialised one-on-one care.

"She can't talk and wasn't supposed to walk until she was seven."

Living in a tent in the middle of winter is simply making everything worse.

"It's really hard cause the kids have special needs and they don't like change."

They've been living on private land on the outskirts of Edgecombe in the Bay of Plenty.

They've never had housing problems before, until they were forced to move in December as their previous landlord wanted to do the house up.

Gail, Sharon and Margaret all have jobs, and home school the children.

"We can afford rent, and stuff like that and that sort of thing, but there's just nothing out there. There needs more housing," Gail said.

The family wants to live near where their jobs are and to keep their animals, but the Ministry of Social Development says that's just one of the problems.  

"Income is a key determinant for social housing assistance as the register is based on need, those with lower incomes receive a higher priority," the Ministry said.

The Reedings are far from alone. An hour up the road in Tauranga, property managers are turning away hundreds of people desperate for homes.

We've got to be patient. It's sometimes hard, but never mind we'll get there," said Gail.

In New Zealand, in 2019, this is what the housing crisis looks like.  


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