Nelson woman Rebekah Smith is sleeping soundly in her new home courtesy of Habitat for Humanity. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Rebekah home at last


After four months of sleepless nights out of fear she would be homeless, Rebekah Smith can now rest easy in her Bishopdale unit for as long as she needs.

It has been a stressful time for the disabled Nelson woman who was facing the prospect of losing her home after her landlord opted to sell.

Unable to purchase the house, Rebekah embarked on a seemingly futile mission to find a suitable home.

“My landlord was very supportive, but I just couldn’t come up with the finances.”

She spent the next few months searching for a wheelchair accessible home but says there was just “nothing out there”. “Doors kept shutting.”

Rebekah then turned to fundraising after being unable to secure a loan.

“Banks don’t want to loan to a disabled person because it’s easier than making them homeless if they can’t make payments.”

But just as Rebekah had lost all hope, her saviours came in the form of Habitat for Humanity.

The charity purchased the house for Rebekah just hours before the sale deadline.

“It was incredible,” she says.

Habitat for Humanity are also making modifications to make the home even more liveable for Rebekah.

“I have had an amazing group of people who supported me.”

Rebekah’s plight was first highlighted by the Nelson Weekly in October.

Rebekah uses a wheelchair after living with Multiple Sclerosis for many years. She managed to kick the disease into remission thanks to stem cell therapy, but its aftereffects were lingering.

Neurological damage to her spine means she cannot bear any weight on her legs.

She says the security of tenure feels amazing.

“I can dream again and not worry about it being taken away from me.”

Rebekah says she is very settled in her home and is not going anywhere.

“I love Nelson, it’s where I want to stay and now I can.”