Vicki* has always been an independent person who wanted to do things for herself, but found herself forced into an unwinnable situation by poor luck.

She and her three children had moved to the small town of Harihari in the West Coat of the South Island to follow her partner when he got a job offer there. But a breakdown in her relationship soon had her heading back to Auckland with little in the way of resources.

“I brought my kids back to stay with my mum and dad, but it was difficult; the house was crowded and growing kids need their own space, but in the situation I was in I couldn’t afford to pay the rent required for a place of my own.”

She had never stayed in public or community housing before and says she felt scared of asking for help.

“To be honest I think it was the thought of not being able to do it myself, I didn’t want to ask for help - I was stubborn. I always wanted to do things my way, but in the end I contacted Monte Cecilia and we went from there.”

She moved into a Monte Cecilia transitional home and Monte staff soon found a place for her family in a community home, providing her with long-term stability.

“So now we’re at a place here the kids are happy and I’m happy. I’ve gotta say I’m blessed - It was the first time I was involved and I didn’t know what to do but the case managers made everything easier for me. I was one of the lucky ones because I had no idea what I was doing and how things work with these situations.”

She is now planning on how to build her own financial independence by following her life-long passion of cooking.

“I love to cook, and when Covid hit I started making food and selling it online. My dream is to open a little takeaway, with my parents to help me. That’s the goal.”