Police help Auckland family with makeover

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 08:57 27/12/2012
Police makeover
JAY BOREHAM / Fairfax NZ
ON THE JOB: Constables Merrin Dancy, Karen Ancell and Julia Williams paint a wall at the HNZ propery in Flat Bush.

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Police have helped a South Auckland family of 13 avoid eviction by transforming their Housing New Zealand home, bringing it up to proper living standards.

The Flat Bush Neighbourhood Policing Team gained the support of the local community and businesses to upgrade the home, which was in such a poor state of repair the family was on its last chance with HNZ.

Constable Karen Ancell said 11 children lived at the house with their 32-year-old mother who was pregnant.

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

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

More than 40 volunteers helped with the make over while businesses donated 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 refurnish the house.

The community's input for a family they had never met was huge, Ancell added.
 
"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."

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

They will receive mentoring, budgeting advice, counselling and health checks as well as anger management and parenting training.

"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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- Manukau Courier

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