10 Aug 2017

Children to remain in state home after mum's death

4:24 pm on 10 August 2017

The children of a solo mother who had been told to leave their Auckland state house after their mother's death have now been told they can take over the tenancy.

Mabel Pe with her five children, Marian (17), Samuel (14), Richelle (12), Daniel (21), Michelle (25).

Mabel Pe with her five children, Marian (17), Samuel (14), Richelle (12), Daniel (21), Michelle (25). Photo: Jane Kloser

Mabel Pe, a Burmese refugee, died unexpectedly in her children's arms at their Glen Innes home a month ago.

Three weeks later, two representatives from the social housing agency Tamaki Housing handed over a letter giving them three weeks to leave the house they had lived in for more than 10 years.

Tamaki Housing backed down and apologised after RNZ questioned the decision, but said it could not guarantee the children could stay there.

Mabel Pe with her daughter Marian Han

Mabel Pe with her daughter Marian Han Photo: Jane Kloser

Yesterday, the children received the news they could remain in the house.

Family friend Debbie Woollams said they were "enormously relieved, quite emotional".

"This has been really quite traumatic for them, so its going to be really good that they can now focus on grieving for their mum and doing what they need to do to adjust to not having them around," she said.

Four of the five children, aged 12 to 21, would live in the house, she said.

Tamaki Housing said Ms Pe's children had been assessed by the Ministry of Social Development as eligible for social housing.

"This means they can remain in their current house and we will be providing them with ongoing support in terms of their housing needs," Tamaki spokesperson Neil Porteous said.

"We are working through the details with the Ministry."

"We will then meet with the family and their representative at a time that is convenient for them to sign the tenancy agreement.

"Once again, we would like to apologise unreservedly to the family for the distress the letter caused."