A homeless solo mother of one due to give birth to her second child next weekend is the latest human face of Auckland's housing crisis and is putting her faith in the operator of a refuge.
The woman ONE News called "Sam" was tossed a lifeline on Friday with emergency shelter at a small Auckland refuge called Island Child.
A kitchen and a roof over her head is a massive deal for Sam because recently a van has been home for her and her two-year-old son "Joe".
"I felt sorry for my son. I would cry. Seeing him, I was unable to provide like a comfortable place for him to sleep. I just felt helpless," Sam told ONE News, weeping.
"I'm thankful that I have a bed to sleep on, somewhere he can call home for now."
She has a few months guaranteed at Island Child but she's putting her faith in the refuge operator, Danielle Bergin, to help her deal with Work and Income and get on a waiting list for government housing.
"I called up WINZ to see if I could get on the waiting list for housing. This was nine months ago. They told me to house hunt - go private," Sam said.
Armed with just her benefit, Sam says the open rental market is brutal.
"I'm a young mother, solo, going up against these professionals trying to find a place. I always get declined."
Ms Bergin, herself once homeless, says Sam's difficulty is common.
"Reality is, people who don't have history with a landlord who maybe have bad credit, cannot private rent in Auckland," she said.
Ms Bergin says she has helped nearly 300 families in 10 years at her self-funded shelter.
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