TODAY |

Humiliated and homeless: ONE News reveals disabled man's desperate living situation

A Christchurch disabled man, forced to crawl on his hands and knees to use a bathroom after he and his mother were left homeless, is asking why our agencies have failed them.

Sidney Wanhalla-Smith, 22, and his mother Donna have been living in a caravan for two months, after their long term private rental home was sold.

Housing New Zealand hasn't found a home for them, even though they've been on a waiting list for five months.

A disabled man and his mum are living in a caravan because Housing NZ doesn’t have a home for them. Source: 1 NEWS

Donna was in tears as she told ONE News, "It's just too hard... We're not classed as homeless, um, this feels pretty homeless to me".

It makes me feel like a baby again - Sidney Wanhalla

To make matters worse her son Sidney has CMT - Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease -  a rare hereditary illness which causes progressive loss of muscle, making walking very difficult.

Living in a caravan makes it impossible. He has to crawl on his hands and knees out onto cold concrete to use the bathroom at a Housing NZ home, where a tenant has allowed them to park, and use her power, after Sidney sent a mayday out on Facebook for somewhere to live.

Donna says, "I hate it every time he goes in and out, I hate it, it must be embarrassing for him".

He says, "It makes me feel like a baby again".

Nobody should ever have to go through what he's going through, crawling to be able to get to the toilet - Jasmine Reid, Housing NZ tenant

Housing NZ tenant Jasmine Reid, a complete stranger to the pair, came to their rescue. She's shocked by their situation.

"Nobody should ever have to go through what he's going through, crawling to be able to get to the toilet," she told ONE News.

Ms Reid charges them expenses for the power and groceries, but has been told by Housing NZ she has to kick them off the property within 14 days or risk losing her own home, as the caravan on her back lawn is deemed a health and safety risk.

Following queries from ONE News about their situation, the Ministry of Social Development reassessed the Wanhallas, now giving them the highest priority rating on the social housing register.

Housing NZ said in a statement it will now be looking for a suitable home that meets their needs.