All Marie Hill wants for Christmas is a home for her family.
The 23-year-old solo mum of two has been looking for a rental property for almost a year and a half, but has faced constant rejection.
During that time, she and her children, 23-month-old Ashton and 9-month-old Braxton, have been living at Ma’s Place in Richmond.
The emergency accommodation provider has been a stable roof over their heads – but now they have until February to find their own place.
Nelson Weekly told Marie’s story back in August, as part of the ‘Safe and Sound’ series, but four months on, Marie says “things are worse”.
She says she is competing against up to 20 other people at rental viewings, and has even taken her plea to the Prime Minister and former Minister of Housing and Nelson MP Nick Smith.
“I just got to a point where I thought, ‘right, let’s get this out there,’ and I’m speaking on behalf of lots of people,” says Marie.
Marie went on the Social Housing register list last month. She has been told she is a “high priority”, but her ranking could go up or down depending on who else goes on the list.
“They have given me a score and told me that my ranking is really high, but I don’t know if that’s even going to work.”
Marie also scours Trade Me every day and has put the call out through her social media networks several times, but it hasn’t got her anywhere.
“I’ve done everything that I can think of, but there are just so many people looking,” she says. “It’s not getting better and there are many who are in the same situation as me.”
“Bad credit lets you down, children, the benefit – even though it’s money coming in people still don’t look at you.”
Marie says she is looking for a 2-3 bedroom house in the $200 – $400 price range and she is open to living in Richmond, Stoke or Nelson.
With Christmas fast approaching, and her eldest son’s second birthday next month, Marie dreams of giving her kids a home to create memories in.
“We won’t be doing much for Christmas this year and I have to have my son’s birthday party at my mum’s house. Last year we had it at my step-dad’s house,” says Marie.
“It’s things like that, which are hard. I want to be settled and I don’t want to keep living like this. I’d like to have my own space and fly the coop, but you can’t do that when you’ve got nowhere to go.”
If anyone can help Marie and her boys find a home, you can contact her on 0274554845 or firstname.lastname@example.org