Shift hard for solo parents

Posted 04 Aug 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
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Residents at an earthquake- damaged social housing complex are happy to have a roof over their heads but say the move hits single parents hardest.

Christchurch City Council this week announced the closure of Brougham Village, an 89-unit complex in Waltham.

The closure came after detailed engineering reports found parts of the complex met less than 34 per cent of the building code.

At a meeting on Thursday, affected residents were offered alternative units, but parents say their main concern is how they will get their children to and from school.

Single mother Gillian Player said her 6-year-old son had "just settled into school" in Addington and would now be forced to move.

"I know it's not the council's fault, but it's hardest on the children because they're the ones who have to move and leave their friends and the area they are used to," she said.

Player and her son had been offered a two-bedroom unit at Airedale Courts in the central city.

"I don't own a car and I don't want to always ask my dad to borrow his," she said.

"Even having to top up your bus tickets might cost about $20 a week, and when you are on a low- income benefit that's $20 you could spend on food or try to save."

Mothers Debbora Gilmore and Aimi Amano have also been placed at Airedale Courts and are worried their sons will have to change school.

Gilmore said she would prefer to stay in the Waltham area but "didn't have a choice". "If we say 'yes' to Airedale, then we're screwed because we can't get our kids to school, and if we say 'no', then we're screwed because we'll have nowhere to live."

Barbara Allan and 27-year-old son Ellery are also being relocated to Airedale Courts.

"I feel sorry for the people who have children because now they have to think about travel to get them to school or they have to move schools, and it's tough for the kids," she said.

Anthony Hosking has lived at the complex for 11 years but said he was "incredibly grateful" to the council. "There's a lot of housing units that are damaged, so they're in a tough spot too."

Council community services general manager Michael Aitken said the council had provided boxes to the residents and had organised removal trucks.


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