A new start: Laura's journey to a brighter future
25 September 2023
A home can provide so much more than simply a roof over someone’s head – in fact, the right home can be truly life-changing. Just ask Hamilton woman Laura, who has regained her independence since moving into her new, accessible Kāinga Ora home.
Due to a permanent illness, Laura relies on a wheelchair to get around – which was difficult in her previous home.
“It was hard to move through the house in my wheelchair, so I didn’t feel like I could really do much and relied on my partner being around to help me,” Laura explained.
But since moving into an accessible home tailored to her needs, Laura’s day-to-day life has been transformed. Her new home boasts wider hallways, an accessible shower, and a kitchen she can easily use.
"I feel like a person again," Laura says with a smile. "This new home allows me to embrace my capabilities, not my limitations. Now I can get up, get dressed, and get out the door onto a bus without help, just like everyone else.
“It's so wonderful to take a shower by myself, to move around my house freely. The independence it’s given me is incredibly liberating."
And the move hasn’t just been life-changing for Laura – it’s also brought new opportunities for her partner, Harry, who could start a new job because Laura no longer needed him home 24/7 to support her. “It’s great – a very welcome benefit,” adds Laura.
The new home is part of a block with five accessible Kāinga Ora homes which are close to the hospital and require minimal maintenance. Moving from a stand-alone home to now being part of a community has also made a significant difference in Laura and Harry’s lives.
“Harry has started a community garden in front of our house where he grows veggies for everyone to pick from. Our neighbours really appreciate it, and it feels good to make a difference and support our local community,” says Laura.
Laura is determined she wouldn’t be in her new home without the ongoing support and efforts of her Housing Support Manager, Leah.
“We worked together with Laura’s health professionals and the Kāinga Ora placement team to move Laura and her partner because their previous home wasn’t fit-for-purpose,” says Leah.
“I noticed lately that Laura is playing music again - which she hasn’t done for a long time. This really tells me that Laura is happy, I feel this new home has given her a new lease on life,” adds Leah.
And Laura couldn’t agree more.
"Independence isn't just about doing things alone," Laura reflects. "It's about having the choice to do so. And thanks to Kāinga Ora, I have that choice,” ends Laura.
“I feel like the sun is shining in our lives again.”
Page updated: 25 September 2023