Facilitating a fresh start

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2012
Constables painting
Mucking in: Constables Merrin Dancy, Karen Ancell and Julia Williams help spruce up the family’s home.

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A police version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition saw a family's Housing New Zealand property transformed into a home last week.

The Flat Bush Neighbourhood Policing Team brought together the community and businesses to prepare the house for the family of 13.

Because the house was in such a poor state of repair and cleanliness, the family is on its last chance with Housing New Zealand, Constable Karen Ancell says.

"We have stepped in to get the house up to scratch so the family can make a fresh start.

"Mum is 32 and has 11 children, with baby number 12 on the way.

"They are struggling, to say the least, and some of the children are starting to come to police attention," she says.

More than 40 volunteers descended on the property while businesses dedicated materials and services.

The volunteers fumigated the house, repaired damaged walls and painted the interior.

Outside they tidied the grounds, erected raised garden beds and planted vegetables. Police, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity representatives also donated furnishings to completely refurbish the house.

The community's input for a family they had never met has been huge, Ms Ancell says.

"It's about giving a family a fresh start. They are in a good place to change now, whereas in the past that hasn't been the case," she says.

But giving them a home they can be proud of is just the first step, she says. The police are also working to give the family the tools to become good parents and members of society.

They will receive mentoring, counselling and health check.

They will also be given anger management and parenting training.

They'll also be supported with budgeting advice, Ms Ancell says.

"They are in a bit of debt and it is very difficult to make headway out - it's a vicious circle."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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