When Injury Leads to Housing Instability

When Injury Leads to Housing Instability

Physical injury can cause people and families to experience sudden vulnerability.

For example, Alex* is living with a brain injury, which causes him to experience severe anxiety. When he came to Presbyterian Support he was living in a situation that had increased his anxiety so much that he was self-harming.

Presbyterian Support social workers advocate for vulnerable people like Alex every day. Alex’s social worker supported him to apply for a Housing New Zealand (HNZ) property. Alex was fortunate that within three weeks HNZ was able to offer him a one-bedroom flat with heat pump that even included a shed for his bike. (Alex’s injury prevents him from driving.)

The agency that referred Alex to Presbyterian Support provided a few household items to get him started, including a washing basket, pillow, tea towels, and some basic groceries. His social worker sourced kitchenware from the Salvation Army, while St Vincent de Paul provided other essentials such as toilet paper and dishwashing liquid.

In his new flat Alex is now able to manage alone, even organising himself to go to Work and Income NZ to request money for a washing machine and fridge. Our support has helped him to become safer and stronger.


Meanwhile Matthew*is a farm worker who sustained an injury and could no longer work in the industry. When he lost his job on the farm, he and his wife and their three children also lost their home.

They found a rental home to move into but didn’t have enough money to cover the moving costs—it was hard enough making ends meet. Neither Matthew nor his wife could secure a bank loan. His wife would soon start work and he was hoping to be off ACC before long, but in the meantime they were stuck.

WINZ referred Matthew to Presbyterian Support, where we supported him to contact the tenancy manager of the new home. He agreed to defer the bond and pay a higher rental for a few weeks to cover the cost. Several local agencies joined forces to cover the cost of the letting fee and the first week’s rent. The move was managed just in time!