The residents of Sunrise and Dunmov’n House, are a lively bunch.
After living together for over a year now, they have become a family, thriving in their house on Tonar Street. And they all have something in common – they’re all women over the age of 65.
The Bays Community Housing Trust opened the 2 houses in February 2018 with the intention of providing a home for older single women who do not own their own property and have limited assets. Each home currently houses five women, who think of themselves as sisters. They chose to name the house Sunrise House to represent a new beginning. As for Dunmov’n House- the name speaks for itself.
Helene moved in after separating from her husband. She could not afford to stay in their house or find another rental on the pension.
“I looked and looked and looked and got very desperate. What I could afford I wouldn’t put my dog in.” Helene saw the flatting project advertised in the North Shore Times and says it was a “message from heaven”
For Edith, the house offered a chance to live independently again. “It was something I’d been hoping for, wishing for. I didn’t want to live alone.” She also saw the project in the North Shore Times and says it leapt out at her.
Kay has been on her own for 10 years and was delighted to find out about the project. She says the residents are all young at heart. ”As you get older you start to dwindle, but not here.”
BCHT now looks after two houses, providing homes for eight women, the oldest of these being 90 years old.
The women in these homes aren’t just a part of a community within their four walls – they are also active in their wider community, building relationships with others in their local space and getting involved in opportunities outside of their home that encourage them to participate in their community and build stronger connections with the people surrounding them.
The residents have regular catchups with BCHT’s Cathy Duncan to share the laughter and meal together running smoothly. “They’re amazing women, I love going there. It feels like such a privilege to be part of their lives.”
BCHT provides affordable housing on the North Shore for people in social or economic need.
Call John Tiy on 021 1963 978 or email manager@ bcht.org.nz for more information.