A lot of homeowners have dealt with struggles since the Earthquakes began in 2010. Dot, our Earthquake Support Coordinator provides assistance to our clients to help with the process.

Putting homeowners back on top

Dot Mitchell has learned a colossal amount about building, the land and engineering in the past four years. Her role, as a Presbyterian Support Earthquake Support Coordinator, has seen her navigate countless meetings, Scope of Work documents, engineer’s reports and technical surveys for clients that need assistance with their rebuild or repair.

A former nurse, Dot says that it is amazing how a little knowledge can change a conversation with a tradesperson, an insurer or EQC. “Fortunately, I’ve had the headspace to take on board this information at a time when my clients are mentally exhausted”.

The focus of the Earthquake Support Coordinator role has changed over time. Early on, clients were mostly red-zoned home owners dealing with red tape. Today’s clients are frustrated by a lack of communication, progress or the quality of works. “Everyone’s been learning but at the end of the process has always been the homeowner. I see my job as being to reverse that and putting the homeowner at the top”.

“I walk beside them until they are strong enough to stand on their own again – whatever that may require,” says Dot. “People can deal with the event and people can deal with the wait but they cannot deal with being put in a position of powerlessness long term.”

There is no ‘typical’

What is clear when you spend time with Dot is that there is no ‘typical’ in her day. Usually, Dot works with older people who are feeling vulnerable and  who are trying to negotiate repeated Scopes of Work or who are dealing with the remediation of their original remedial work. Most of these people are on their own and exposed physically and emotionally.

On any given day, Dot may;

  • Attend contract, insurer or EQC meetings with a client, or on their behalf
  • Collect and interpret engineering and other specialist reports
  • Conduct a walk through of a home with a client
  • Review EQC payouts with the client
  • Help clients to gather the information required to challenge  payout figures or quality of workmanship
  • Work with EQC , insurers and the client throughout any challenge to scope/ workmanship/ build processes
  • Prepare documentation or communication for EQC on the client’s behalf
  • Encourage EQC or the insurer to fund secure and adequate accommodation when required.

“I am here to instil belief in our clients again,” says Dot. “When you believe and feel empowered, you can heal.”

“When you believe and feel empowered, you can heal”