Pensioner on the verge of becoming homeless amid housing crisis

by Roxanne Libatique09 Jan 2021

A pensioner in Masterton has only a month to find a new home after her flat was sold to private vendors. However, with a housing shortage across the country, she is on the verge of becoming homeless.

Dorothy [Dot] Hutton, 78, has been living in a Newland Pl flat in Masterton for around seven years under Trust House ownership. However, in 2013, the company sold the lots to the Wairarapa Building Society, which sold them to private vendors.

Hutton said the new owners requested vacant possession and gave her only a month to find a new home. She called Trust House, only to be informed that it has a two-year waitlist. Now, she is “worried sick” trying to find a new place for herself and her 13-year-old shih tzu Oska.

“I’ve got no family; I have a niece in Nelson and a brother in Australia. My husband died 30 years ago. I have nowhere to go,” Hutton told NZ Herald.

“My mobility is not the best, it’s my birthday on Sunday, and I’m 78. The thought of moving is stressful; it is bad enough for anyone. I was hoping an investor would buy it, and I could stay here, but that’s not the case. I think they want to move in and live here.”

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Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said Hutton’s flat was initially a pensioner flat of Kainga Ora, previously known as Housing New Zealand Corporation. In 1999, the National Government sold all Housing Corporation houses from Featherston through Dannevirke to Trust House, which also sold off some flats.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said he has been helping Hutton and trying to convince Kainga Ora to buy the Newland Pl flats.

“We need to get Kainga Ora back to Masterton; it would help to alleviate access to affordable housing. We can’t let this continue. With social housing, you get the pastoral care that comes with it too,” McAnulty told NZ Herald.

Patterson added: “We have been working closely with Trust House and iwi. We will meet in February to see what we can make happen. We have land and are keen to work with anyone to develop more housing.”

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