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28-11-2007

State tenant upset over space issue

A Housing New Zealand (HNZ) client is irate the government agency refuses to put her on the waiting list for a three-bedroomed house and has suggested her four children share the same room.

Christchurch solo mother Kathleen Robinson cares for her two daughters, Amilee, 20 months, and Kassidy, six months, in a two-bedroomed house.

However, from next year she will have her two sons, Dante, six, and Sebastian, five, for one night every fortnight, meaning the house will be cramped and it is impossible to fit more than the two girls into the other bedroom. "The bedroom I've got is not big enough for the two girls really," she said. "This house is not big enough for the three of us. I don't ask for much, but I feel the kids need more space -- it's not good for them."

Robinson has been on a waiting list for a bigger two-bedroom house for the past six months, but believes HNZ should now give her a three-bedroom property.

With just $140 left after her bills were paid, Robinson said she could never afford a larger place at market rents. She hoped to eventually have the boys during school holidays as well as the occasional night, but it would be unlikely if she could not get a more suitable house.

HNZ regional manager David Griffiths said the corporation was aware of her request for a larger two-bedroomed property.

"We are looking to assist Kathleen in this respect, but the additional children she is caring for are not present often enough for the corporation to justify giving her a three-bedroom home," he said.

"The corporation needs to take a fair and equitable approach to housing allocation."

A corporation spokesman said to qualify for an extra room it must be occupied for at least 21 per cent of the year and if Robinson got increased access to her sons then she may qualify for a bigger house.

Source: The Press

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