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Young mothers at Te Tipu Whenua o Pa Harakeke talk about what makes a house a home

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Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, ,

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This study, conducted at Te Tipu Whenua o Pa Harakeke in Flaxmere, Hawke’s Bay, explores the housing needs and aspirations of young mothers to inform more empathetic and effective housing policies.

Employing the innovative HOMING method designed by Dr. James Berghan, the research utilises physical blocks as a tool for participants to express their conceptualisations of what transforms a physical space into a nurturing home. This method facilitated a deeper understanding of the young mothers’ values concerning their living environments. The study, carried out towards the end of 2020, engaged young women in discussions about their housing situations, revealing three critical aspects of home: the significance of people (such as their children and wider whānau), the resources that foster familial togetherness within the living space, and the overall liveability and cleanliness of the dwelling. Despite some participants having access to these valued aspects in their current homes, they reported feeling constrained by limited housing choices and experienced discrimination from prospective landlords, particularly due to their status as young mothers. The findings underscore the barriers young mothers face in securing desirable accommodation, including stigmatisation and the daunting prospect of remaining in emergency or transitional housing indefinitely. The participants’ reflections on hypothetical scenarios of finding suitable rental properties or purchasing homes underscored the importance of further research into potential pathways towards stable and supportive housing for young mothers and their families. This study highlights the need for housing policies and strategies that not only meet the practical requirements of young mothers but also support their aspirations for creating a home that nurtures whānau growth and well-being. By focusing on the lived experiences and voices of young mothers, the research contributes valuable insights for developing more inclusive and supportive housing solutions.

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