Darren and Miriana's Story
Losing your home is devastating, just ask Darren and Miriana.
Tough times can happen to anyone...
Darren is a hardworking provider for his family, a skilled specialist painter. From his own tough background, Darren’s main ambition in life has been to provide a loving and stable environment for his whanau. To get ahead financially, Darren and his partner, Miriana, opened their own painting business. It was going great. Then came Covid. Their fledgling business was wiped out, and they plummeted into debt.
Like many other Kiwi business owners at this time, they were barely keeping their heads above water. When their landlord decided to sell their home last year, they went right under.
Struggling financially, they couldn’t find a rental.
Overnight they were homeless.
“To put a roof over my family’s head, we went into Work and Income emergency motel housing for 6 months”, says Darren.
“When you go into emergency or transitional housing, there is that feeling inside that you’ve failed, especially for a man, I’ve failed my family, I’ve failed my kids, why am I here?”
Due to the kindness of people like you, we were able to lift this family out of crisis and provide them a temporary home in Salvation Army transitional housing. Miriana says, “we drove up the hill and there’s this beautiful house, it was probably one of the happiest days of my life.” People staying in our transitional housing are supported by social workers and offered a range of wrap around services while we work together to find them long term accommodation.
Darren says, “The doors were open to us for everything, what we received is unbelievable.”
Social worker Liz says, “when Darren and Miriana first moved in with us, they weren’t receiving the money they were entitled to, and this was through no fault of their own.” Liz advocated for the family and worked these issues out with Work and Income. In the meantime, we supported the family with food parcels so they had enough for the whole family to eat a nutritious diet.
Liz says, “what I do know is, prior to them being with us, the kids never went without, they put the kids before themselves, and you can see it in the kids, healthy, bouncing, just amazing.”
For Miriana, this meant some of her health issues had taken a back seat. The Salvation Army supported her prioritizing her health and getting checked up at the doctors.
“I felt like I was covered in cotton balls, because I felt so safe with The Salvation Army”, says Miriana.
Darren says, “Our major support through it has been Liz, we know she has been thinking about us every second, every hour, every day since she has been with us. She is the most beautiful person and social worker you could ask for, there are no words to describe how much we appreciate and respect her”.
To address the debt COVID had hit them with, the Darren and Miriana worked with one of our financial mentors to find a way forward. Together, they created a payment strategy, and have since paid off a considerable amount of debt. Darren also worked with our financial mentor for guidance around how to improve his business. “Our financial mentor is awesome, she’s been so supportive, helping with budgeting, mentoring me in a lot of ways, she’s sharpened my mind and taught me so much, the possibilities for our business are better now”, says Darren.
After 6 months in transitional housing, they managed to secure a private rental and have recently moved into their new home. Darren is back into the swing of work and has plenty of jobs lined up for the year. They are on track with their finances, almost debt free, and things are really looking up for the business.
Liz says, “One of the reasons why Darren and Miriana have been so successful is because they are motivated, they worked with us, they established goals and worked towards them, they were engaged and open to support where they needed it”.
“The sallies give 100% to people, there’s help on a broad range, when you come, and when you leave, we are experiencing that now, leaving and still being supported”, says Miriana.
Thanks to people like you, Darren, Miriana and their two kids will be warm, dry, and healthy this winter.
This is the story of just one Kiwi family. Winter usually intensifies the struggles people are already facing, New Zealand still needs us, and we cannot do it without people like you.
Darren and Miriana share their story - click below and watch their video now