One of Crossdale three finds new home

18:15, Jan 01 2014
homeless retire
ORDERED TO LEAVE: Joan Leeson, 86, left, Valerie McBride, 81, and Verna Veint, 71, are the last of the 23 pensioners who have faced eviction from their units in the Crossdale Courts retirement complex since the owner went bankrupt in 2008.

Of the three Crossdale Courts pensioners facing eviction this new year, one has been forced to shift into a less-affordable rental home, one has lost $130,000 and does not know where to turn, and the other is in complete denial.

The three retirees spent their life savings on the right to live in the Upper Riccarton retirement units until death.

They are the last remaining residents of the complex after the legal turmoil that resulted when its owner, former police detective Gary Campbell, declared bankruptcy in 2008, leaving the residents in the hands of finance companies.

Over the past five years Joan Leeson, Valerie McBride and Verna Veint have seen their 20 former neighbours evicted, taken into care or die. In November, the trio were told to vacate their units by December 2 - a deadline their mortgagee mercifully agreed to extend to March.

But the time extension has not eased the burden for 71-year-old Veint, who has lost $130,000.

She loaned Campbell $120,000 so she could live in her two-bedroom unit until death.


And she spent an extra $10,000 making her home comfortable by installing insulation, a heat pump and a wet shower.

"I've done it all up nice for me for the rest of my life," she said.

"I feel absolutely sick about it, it makes me so upset I just don't know where to turn."

She is yet to start hunting for a potential rental home, but said that on her $360 weekly pension the "absolute maximum" she could afford would be $250 a week, leaving her few options in Christchurch's strained rental market.

Her children have offered to take her in but Veint said she was reluctant to give up her independence.

McBride, 81, is the only one who has shifted out of the Crossdale Courts since the trio received the eviction letter.

With the help of her children, McBride moved into a slightly smaller, two-bedroom rental unit around the corner last Friday.

Daughter Debbie Scott said her mother's new home was "clean, tidy, warm and secure".

"She was confused, annoyed and angry about the move but she is now pleased to have left that unhealthy atmosphere," she said.

However, the rent was $330 a week and for the first time in her life, McBride has had to apply for financial assistance from Work and Income.

"Once you take away the rent and bills from her pension she hasn't got a lot of money left and the family will have to stump up quite a lot, which is an utter frustration for her.

"She is fiercely independent and hates being reliant on us, and this hurts her quite a lot," Scott said.

Meanwhile, 86-year-old Leeson has serious health concerns and is in complete denial about the impending eviction date.

In the absence of family, Age Concern may need to support Leeson in the coming weeks.

The Press