There could be light at the end of the tunnel for the family of seven living in a tent. Just over two weeks ago, we revealed the plight of the Redding family who are living in a tent in Edgecumbe as a result of not being able to find a rental property. What makes their story even more heartbreaking is they have three disabled children. The Reddings have jobs and money and can afford a roof over their heads, they just can't find one. Reporter Kelly Makiha today reveals there is fresh hope thanks to a Rotorua offer.
The Redding family's long days and cold and wet nights of living in a tent might soon be over.
The family of seven - including a mother, her two adult daughters and their four children - have been living in a tent on private property since December last year, unable to find a suitable rental home for them and their pets.
Three of the four children suffer from disabilities, including two who have high needs.
In the tent, the Reddings have no power and no running water and need to scoop water when it rains.
Their situation is dire but now a Rotorua woman has offered to rent part of her large home to the Reddings.
Because they have jobs and earn wages, their needs are not considered high enough to qualify for state housing.
However, offers for emergency housing from the Ministry of Social Development had not been suitable as the Reddings weren't prepared to part with their pets.
While they could continue leasing their farm animals, including chickens, horses, ponies and calves, they didn't want to lose their two dogs and three cats.
Living in the tent is Gail, 65, and her two daughters Sharon, 44, and Margaret, 45. Sharon has three children: Ricky, 22, Dominic, 12, and Shyanne, 6. Margaret has one daughter, Lettisha, 14.
Shyanne suffers from a rare condition called Cri-du-chat (cat's cry) syndrome and needs specialised one-on-one care. Dominic suffers several disorders including attention deficit disorder and autism and Lettisha has a heart condition.
Given the children's needs, the Reddings home-school them.
They have been living in a tent in Edgecumbe since having to leave their long-term rental home last year.
Gail and Margaret are the children's main caregivers while also working part-time jobs, Sharon works full-time cleaning and Ricky is doing casual farm work.
Since their situation was published in the Rotorua Daily Post on June 9, offers for financial help flooded in but the Reddings needed a home, not money.
A Rotorua woman, who doesn't want to be named, offered to rent them her large home in Ōwhata.
She told the Rotorua Daily Post her six-bedroom home had been empty for several months because she and her adult son, who was also a high needs person due to a brain injury, had been living with family in Matatā while she recovered from health problems.
The woman said she had been meaning to rent out her home and was happy to offer it to the Reddings.
She said the family had already met with her and gone through the property. She said the Reddings could have four of the six bedrooms and they would be able to bring most of their pets as she had some spare paddocks.
"I understand what it's like to have a child with high needs ... It takes a hell of a family to stick together in what they have been through ... They will like it here because it is really private and away from the road."
Gail Redding said the offer was looking positive and they were really pleased with the house.
She said keeping their pets was a big thing as she said mentally the children coped better being around the animals.
She said the offer had come at the right time as the family had just started to get really sick with bad colds and flu.
"The kids were just so excited because it means they will have a yard to play in and run around."
Gail Redding said given their jobs were around Edgecumbe and the Eastern Bay, it would mean they would need to travel each day but it would be much better than their current situation.
"She (the woman) seems like she is a really giving sort of lady ... We just want to move. The kids have just had enough in the tent."