Hayden Mundy, Housing Support Navigator

Hayden Mundy, Housing Support Navigator

My role is not just about providing housing. It’s about showing there is hope for the future…

I work for VisonWest housing in the Christchurch support office. My job is to help people who are struggling to find a place to live to get a safe good home they can afford. In a city that is already under pressure for housing, this can be difficult.

There are no criteria that exclude people from our services. We have people from all backgrounds: employed, unemployed, families, broken relationships, violent relationships, severe homelessness, addiction, gangs. We’re not here to report people to the authorities if they’ve made bad choices; we’re here to help them take steps to get out of their current situation. Some people find it a bit of a shock how frankly we talk about things other agencies shy away from. Initially people can be hesitant or fearful. But with our support they build rapport with our team quite quickly. And many people have no other options for help.

The Transitional service provides support and housing for 90 days. Over that period, we check in and set weekly goals. Our service is often the first step for people with no platform to go from. Sometimes clients have bad records with the Tenancy Tribunal, but we work with them to give them a good reference. We aim to have people in stable, long-term homes by the end of the 90 days – whether social housing or private rentals. But if we haven’t managed to find a place, we don’t leave anyone homeless. 

Recently a client came in to the office, first thing in the morning in the pouring rain, and said: “I need your help – I don’t know where to go. My options are either committing suicide or committing a serious crime so I can get back into prison to have somewhere to stay.”

We’re now working with this man, taking him on the journey to find a home. We’ve warned him it won’t all be easy – we’ll be moving forward but there will be fallbacks, too, and it’s sometimes going to seem horrible. But we can press on. There’s something attainable for him at the end: the chance to reconnect with family. 

My philosophy is about bringing hope. We’re here to shine a light at the end of the tunnel. We journey alongside whanau, finding out what’s brought them to this place and supporting them into transitional housing. 

When whanau find a home, there’s a real sense of celebration and success. Sometimes it’s the first time they’ve been able to call any house a “home”.