Woman fears losing husband, home all at once

22:31, Oct 08 2013
Sandra Taylor
NO ROOM TO LET: Sandra Taylor has had no luck finding an affordable rental in Christchurch since discovering her husband had terminal cancer in July.

A Christchurch woman whose husband has been given only a week to live is desperately looking for a new house before her rental is put on the market.

Sandra Taylor's husband Barry was admitted to a hospice on Saturday suffering from bile duct cancer.

Adding to her woes was the fact her Aranui rental is to be put on the market, with her landlord putting her on a periodic lease until the house sold or she found a new place for herself and her two dogs.

Barry Taylor
TERMINALLY ILL: Barry Taylor, who is suffering from bile duct cancer and has been given only a week to live.

The 62-year-old had applied for a Housing New Zealand property, but her application had stalled because the authority's waiting list was already "overflowing with desperate people", she said.

The same situation applied to Christchurch City Council social housing units, with 331 people on the waiting list and only eight deemed as having an urgent need for housing.

Taylor's 62-year-old husband was diagnosed with bile duct cancer in July and given only three weeks to live after earlier suffering from gall stones and a ruptured gall bladder.


His health had begun to deteriorate rapidly and he was admitted to Merivale's Nurse Maude Hospice on Saturday after a fall.

"He's done very well and the only reason he's holding on is because he's worried sick about what will happen to me."

Taylor was frustrated there was nowhere to post a "home wanted" message, with Trade Me moderators removing such posts from its community message boards.

"None of us like to be in this situation and [for] most of us it's not of our making. There's so many of us in this situation."

Taylor was on an invalid's benefit and could not afford to buy the house or stay in it on her own if the new owner decided to keep it as a $330 per week rental.

"I'm really grateful [for the benefit], so we live with what we've got, we don't go on holidays or drink or smoke. It's horrible to have to admit you need help; I don't ask for help if I can avoid it."

She had some family living in Christchurch, but they had lost their own homes following the quakes and could not take her in, and she needed somewhere that would let her keep her labrador and bichon frise-cross dogs.

"I can't lose my husband, where I live and my dogs all at once."

HNZ regional manager Symon Leggett said the authority had 368 applicants waiting for homes in Christchurch.

Applicants deemed to have a "severe and persistent" housing need were waiting an average of 46 days before accommodation was available.

The Press