Reprieve for ousted state house tenant

By Laurel Stowell

4 comments
Wendy Ross
Wendy Ross

Whanganui state house tenant Wendy Ross has been told she can stay in her house for the forseeable future.

She had been asked to leave by July 18, and is "over the moon" at having time to reflect and find somewhere else to live.

Ms Ross met with a Housing New Zealand staff member on Wednesday - the day the Chronicle ran a front page story on her battle to stay in the Puriri St state house that has been her home for 30 years. She was told the order to leave had been rescinded because her personal circumstances had changed in that she was no longer working full-time.

She now works part-time as a carer on the minimum wage of $15.25 an hour. The rent for her house takes up most of her pay and she gets help from her adult children.

Ms Ross has lived in her three-bedroom house for 30 years, and brought up three children there.

Told to leave by next month, she decided to stand her ground.

"I fought for what I wanted and I got it. If more people came forward and stood up for what they believed in they would find it, too," she said.

She is still on a waiting list to be moved out and has been looking for another place to live.

The cheapest she could find was $180 a week, but most were in the $250 a week bracket, which she cannot afford.

She will be 65 in a few years, and said she would be ready to downsize then. In the meantime she wants to get a full-time job and "get back on her feet".

Comments on her story on the Chronicle's Facebook page hurt her. Most said she was selfish, did not own the house she lived in and should give it up for other people.

She said she was not selfish and was not preventing other families having her house. There were a lot of empty Housing New Zealand properties in her area.

"They don't need this particular house to put those families in.

"The houses belong to the people of New Zealand and they should be put in them. They shouldn't be sitting there empty and being sold."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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