9 Dec 2013

Mother says family forced to live in tent

9:27 pm on 9 December 2013

A mother-of-three says the lack of rental properties in earthquake-hit Christchurch has left her no option but to move her family into a tent in one of the city's parks.

Nellie Hunt said she had to leave her rental property on Monday after the owner sold it and, despite applying for dozens of rentals, has not been able to find a new home.

"I got rung by Housing New Zealand today to tell me that I still wasn't a priority. It's like, how much do I have to be down and out before you'd make me a priority? I'm still on a waiting list, but I have to wait for them to house the other 40 people first."

Ms Hunt contacted Housing New Zealand for assistance in September, but regional manager Symon Leggett said she did not meet the criteria to go on the priority list until 3 December.

"While we are of Ms Hunt's housing situation, unfortunately, there are 39 people ahead of her on the waiting list. The key thing for us is that they're all important and they're all a priority, and we're looking at all options to provide housing for all of those people."

Mr Leggett said while the housing situation in Christchurch is difficult, on Monday morning there were more than 100 homes available for renting for under $300 a week.

Ms Hunt said she doesn't know how long her family will need to stay in the tent before she can find a rental property.