IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
OLD HOME: Malina Geddis at the family's caravan home.
A landlord, who wished to remain anonymous, offered the family a home for three months rent-free after their plight was featured in The Press two weeks ago.A Christchurch family of five have said goodbye to their caravan and shifted into a rent-free Woolston home after a charitable Cantabrian came to their aid.
Parents Malina Geddis and Shane White were forced to live in a caravan with their three children after they were evicted from their Kaiapoi home in March. They could not find a house because of Christchurch's rental housing shortage.
The day-to-day realities of life in a 5.5-metre caravan were bleak.
The family used a bucket beneath a tarpaulin for a toilet at night, lugged warm water 50 metres from the ablution block to bathe their one-year-old baby and stored dirty washing in the boot of their car.
Offers of help came streaming in from the public after their story was published, including from the landlord who wanted to help the family "get back on our feet".
Geddis said the support had been overwhelming and their new home was like "heaven".
"It's so awesome.
"Just having a shower, toilet and space for my son to crawl around is amazing," she said.
"I feel like a different person and the kids just love it."
The two-bedroomed Woolston home has a heat pump. Geddis said it was so warm she had been tempted to "walk round in the nude".
With a bathroom inside the house and fresh linen on the beds, she said the family felt "clean" for the first time in a long while.
"We just felt dirty all the time in the caravan, but we are more positive now and have more direction," she said.
Despite a lack of furniture, the family already felt at home.
They had planted vegetables in the back garden and her eldest daughter, Shovannah, 11, had re- enrolled with Woolston Primary School, which was now within walking distance.
Geddis said the family hoped to stay in the house permanently and was grateful to have a chance at a "new start".