23 Jun 2023

'We don't know what's going to happen next week' - Flood victims still in limbo

9:00 pm on 23 June 2023
Trushar Masuria's family have had to move to temporary accomodation after several floods at their West Auckland home.

Trushar Masuria's family have had to move to temporary accomodation after several floods at their West Auckland home. Photo: RNZ / Louise Ternouth

Five months after the devastating Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods, affected home owners still do not know where they are going to be living week to week.

Those living in temporary accommodation are frustrated by the lack of communication about how long they will be able to stay.

The crowded Auckland rental market also has them worried about where they will live if they cannot remain in the hotels, motels or apartments they have been put up in.

Niva's family of three had been living with her parents and five siblings on west Auckland's Don Buck Road, when the anniversary floods left their home yellow stickered.

Since then they have been living in temporary accommodation, but it is in Avondale and only has three bedrooms between the 10 of them.

"Our life is not the same as before, you know, having our own space, the kids are not able to freely stay here.

"They all go to school at Massey High School and my daughter's at Lincoln Heights, before the flood they were able to just, you know, walk up the road."

Niva is also six months pregnant, so they are in desperate need of more space for their growing family.

They have put in a request with Work and Income seeking alternative accommodation but have been told there is no guarantee and a long list.

Trushar Masuria's home and yard were badly flooded.

Trushar Masuria's home and yard were badly flooded. Photo: RNZ / Louise Ternouth

As well as paying the mortage for the Don Buck Road property, the family is forking out $550 a week for the small rental.

As far as they know, they will have to leave next Friday.

"We did put in a request on the extension, but we didn't hear back from the temporary accommodation people ... we don't know what's going to happen next week after the 30th."

This is the third time their home has flooded and they are desperate to be bought out so they can make a fresh start.

But it could be at least six weeks before they find out what they are allowed to do with their stricken home when it is assigned a category.

They are one of the many families using the Government's Temporary Accommodation Service, set up for those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and the anniversary floods.

Another is Trushar Masuria, also a resident on Don Buck Road.

His yellow stickered home has flooded five times this year alone, the worst being on Auckland Anniversary Weekend.

"We were lucky that it all happened in the daytime, this 27th of January flood because if it was in the middle of the night, we wouldn't be able to come out from the house 'cause the water level was above our height."

He is staying in temporary accommodation in Henderson with his wife and two young children.

Trushar Masuria's home on Don Buck Road has flooded several times this year.

Trushar Masuria's home on Don Buck Road has flooded several times this year. Photo: RNZ / Louise Ternouth

They have been told it is available until August, but he said they have to keep checking that is still the case.

"They said the the place is available, we have to keep checking every two weeks to make sure that it's there for us.

"They might put us in a different place because they are cutting down some locations, they say so."

Now they are looking for something more suitable while they wait for the assessment of their home.

Since May they have been paying $780 a week towards their mortage, which leaves them searching for a rental under $700.

The family also needs to stay in the same area because of work and schooling and there are not many suitable rentals out there.

"There are many families in a situation like us, the ones we're applying for we have not been successful for, we've applied to four or five already."

Auckland Council has sent 3600 letters to affected households asking for additional information and have so far received 500 responses.

Head of Accommodation Response for the government's Temporary Accommodation Service Fadia Mudafar said "households can use the service as long as they meet the TAS requirements, until their needs are met.

"We do not get requests to extend accommodation, we proactively approach households and assess their need."

Mudafar said TAS is able to accommodate 266 households and has no plans to shut services down.

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