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Northland community dig deep to help change lives and fight homelessness

The Kaikohe community has dug deep to pay for what it believes is a simple solution to homelessness in the north.

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Fifteen portable homes have been put on Māori land, with those living in them paying what they can. Source: 1 NEWS

Fifteen portable homes have been put on Māori land, with those living in them paying what they can. 

Pablo McGreggor is one of those residents. He's been off methamphetamine for three months, but it's not been easy. 

"I was doing OK in the inside then I got out and sort of lost my focus," he told 1 NEWS.

With nowhere to go after prison, he called a tent his home. 

"Living in a tent I was still drinking heavily, driving like a hoon, because I had nowhere," McGreggor says.

Now he's living in a portacom.

It's one of 15 that have been set up on whānau land around the north.

"This is my grandmother's whenua and to be neighbors with my dad is real cool, because he's a silly old bugger but he's my silly old bugger," McGreggor says.

They were purchased by the Whakaora Recovery Hub, after they opened a centre in Kaikohe in March to provide counseling and support to those with drug addictions.

The Recovery Hub's Jane Beamsley says they have more than 100 people on their books.

"We have people come in every day, all walks of life, and it's because they've got nowhere else to go, they don't know where to go."

Fellow organiser Rhonda Zielinski says it transforms people's lives.

"They're reasonably cheap, they're quick and easy to deliver, there's not a lot of preparation that needs to go into it," she says.

The mini homes cost around $25,000 each. Those living in them make payments weekly, but no set amount is required - they're just asked to pay what they can. 

"I've got my own slice of paradise and it's awesome, it's fresh, it's clean," McGreggor says.

Zielinski says people with addiction often struggle as they've "burnt every bridge".

"I mean let's face it, what landlords want to put some addicts in their house?" she says.

"For us - because we are working with people in addiction, we're working with people in recovery, who are working on their recovery - someone has to trust them, somebody has to build the bridge, and often that's us." 

There are now 100 people on the waiting list for the homes. 

But with no money left in the kete, the portacoms are for rent only until more funding can be found.