"The property is perfect for me," Jacob says. "It’s light and sunny and has good ventilation. It’s also easy to heat so you don’t need to use a lot of electricity."

Being a ground floor apartment was a big drawcard, as was the accessible bathroom.

"When I opened the bathroom door and saw the wet room shower, I was sold. I said: ‘I think I need to go and sign the paperwork’.

The 26-year-old was offered the one-bedroom home in Avondale in May because the state home where he lived in Henderson was being refurbished due to water tightness issues.

His old home was on the third floor, which was difficult for him to access. It required walking up stairs in order to get to the lift.

"I needed a brand new start. I had recently been made redundant and was ready to move on from my old place because it wasn’t meeting my needs."

Jacob’s health issues include developmental delay, vision impairment, obesity and high blood pressure. He also suffers from sleep apnoea at times.

Since the move, his doctor has noticed a big improvement in his health. "The sleep apnoea has gone and the high blood pressure has reduced significantly," Jacob says.

Two people sitting at a kitchen table

Tenancy Liaison Officer Sam and Jacob inside his open plan living space.

He’s also enjoying walking more and exploring the neighbourhood. "Everywhere you go, people say: ‘Hello, good morning’."

For Jacob, there was another unexpected benefit of the move. He struck up a friendship with Kāinga Ora staff member Sam, who he still keeps in touch with regularly.

Sam is a Tenancy Liaison Officer, which is a role dedicated to supporting tenants whose current homes are being redeveloped or significantly upgraded.

This involves early conversations about a potential move, confirming dates, finding another suitable home, and then ensuring the person, or whānau, feels settled in their new home.

"Sam’s done a lot for me," Jacob says. He’s been a rock. He really took time to listen and try and find a home that met all my health needs. It meant a lot to be able to trust him."

For Sam, the process has been equally rewarding. "Helping Jacob has been a real highlight for me. I joined Kāinga Ora to help people. The difference we’ve made to him means the world to me.

"I’m actually grateful to Jacob for allowing Kāinga Ora this opportunity to help him into a home that meets his needs."

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Page updated: 28 July 2020