18 for 4 campaign: Transforming lives

Transforming lives
– ACHPN assisted ownership in practice

Apaula and Martin Lautua are a lot like many couples in Auckland. They have a 6-year-old daughter, Emereziana. They go to church. They both have skilled office jobs, working for a healthcare company. They represent New Zealand’s place in the South Pacific – Apaula is from Wellington, Martin is from Samoa.

And representing a growing number of Aucklanders, they have faced some real challenges in finding a place that really feels like they can call it home.

Their story

Married for 5 years, Apaula and Martin have bounced between several homes in their daughter’s short life – while Emereziana herself spent time living over in Samoa. Stability here in Auckland was hard to come by – but it’s where the work and study opportunities are, so the arrangement continued.

In the early days of the marriage, Martin was studying in the city, so the couple lived in a centrally-located small apartment. Once his study was over, they moved out to a house in South Auckland, near Papatoetoe. A house, but not a home. The costs were high, and the property itself less than ideal. 

Then they found out about New Zealand Housing Foundation. 

Community housing in action

It seems appropriate that they learned about the organisation through their church – after all, it makes sense that community support is discovered through community connections. The family’s first thought was that it must be too good to be true. But both Apaula and Martin are diligent by nature – Martin works on the payroll team at healthAlliance, and Apaula works for the same company as a Senior Internal Auditor – so they did their research and decided to give it a go.

So they applied – and were offered a place in the assisted home ownership programme. New Zealand Housing Foundation helped the Lautua family to establish a way to pay off their debt – taking them into five years of renting their Takanini property, with the ability to buy out the home at the end of that five years. This has enabled them to bring Emereziana back over to New Zealand, keeping the family together. 

Support through the process

By working with New Zealand Housing Foundation, the Lautua family can access wraparound services – like the budgeting support that has proved so invaluable. The chance to own their own house in the not-too-distant future would have been impossible without this kind of community housing support. Both Martin and Apaula agree that community housing is an essential part of helping families into better situations – helping provide stability and security. 

Having a suitable home of their own also means that they have the chance to share around their good fortune by supporting family members who are facing their own challenges. At present, Martin’s sister is living with the family while she studies, enabling her to concentrate on her tasks at hand, rather than living in constant fear about how far the shoestring student budget can take her.

New Zealand Housing Foundation

The New Zealand Housing Foundation are one of twelve member organisations of the Auckland Community Housing Providers’ Network, alongside the likes of Habitat for Humanity, Lifewise, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust and VisionWest Community Trust. Together, the organisations that make up ACHPN are taking community housing to the next level with 18 for 4.