2020 was a year of unique challenges for many New Zealanders, but for Sefina* Covid-19 meant the end of her job as a flight attendant at the same time as a relationship breakdown forced her to move back in with her grandparents.

Her grandparents’ home only had three bedrooms, making it a tight fit for them, Sefina, Sefina’s two teenage sons and her seven-year-old daughter. 

“It was a pretty rough year. On top of everything, my grandparents and uncle weren’t in great health so I spent a lot of my time looking after them and helping them navigate the health system. It wasn’t fair to my kids either, who I ended up neglecting because I was constantly bouncing from one thing to another.”

She knew she needed somewhere for herself and her children, but with her airline job on hold for the foreseeable future and no partner to assist her with paying the punishing price of Auckland rent she struggled to see a way out of her situation.

Sefina decided to reach out to Monte Cecilia for a transitional house. She was familiar with Monte Cecilia, having stayed in Monte’s former Windrush Close facility when she was 12 years old after her family’s home burned down.

“When I got the call I literally cried because I could see the happiness in my children’s faces. It’s about having some space and having me back and not running back and forth looking after everyone.”

Since moving to Monte Cecilia transitional housing, the Monte team encouraged her to apply for a customer services and admin role with Monte Cecilia, which she got, and has since become a valued member here.

*not her real name