Going the extra mile

Mataese is 11 and lives at home with her Mum, Dad, brother and two sisters. She needs the full use of a wheelchair for mobility and depends on others for all her physical needs.

In 2019 the family moved into a private rental property. It was inaccessible, meaning Mataese had to be carried into the home and spent nearly all her time in the lounge. The bathroom couldn’t accommodate her medical equipment. Then, early this year, they received a 90-day notice to vacate.

Lauren Te Whaiti, Mataese’s respiratory nurse, became the family’s housing advocate. In March Lauren talked with Accessible Properties about finding a home for Mataese and her family.

They required a 4-bedroom, level-access property, with a bedroom large enough for Mataese’s medical bed and equipment, as well as a wet-area bathroom and widened doorways. Mataese’s respiratory complications meant it also had to be warm and dry.

In the current housing market, finding a private rental to meet Mataese’s needs was near impossible.

After meeting with Lauren, the Accessible Properties Development Team and Trident Homes worked together to help the family, finding and adapting a home that would be functional for them.

Accessible Properties altered the design several times to improve the accessibility for Mataese and is grateful to Trident for absorbing the extra costs of these changes. It’s a great example of their commitment to improving social housing.  

In September, Mataese and her family moved into their new home. Now she can get to all areas, sleep in her own bedroom, wash in a bathroom that accommodates her medical equipment, and socialise with her family.

A special thank you to everyone who joined forces on this extra special project - Lauren Te Whaiti of Te Manu Toroa, Beryl Razak of the Pacific Island Community Trust (who organised emergency housing in case it was needed), Dave Orrell of Accessible Properties and Trident Homes.

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