He has been living in a state house most of his life and, at 70, Gilbert Vangellekom is not too happy about his tenancy possibly being up for review.
Vangellekom has lived in his Elsdon three-bedroom home for 36 years – he brought up three children on his own and, when he met his second wife, Vida, helped raised two more. All up, they have 10 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who still return home when the going gets rough.
“This is what we call home base . . . This is where all the photographs were taken, this is where the good times took place, this is where everyone comes home to when they’re having a bad situation – this is what the politicians don’t realise.”
It is just the two of them now, which is why Vangellekom is concerned that they will be up for a reassessment and told the house is bigger than they need.
The reality is that they should have been shifted into a smaller house once their kids had left home. I have sympathy for the argument that at age 70, he shouldn’t be moved. But the solution is that he should have been moved much earlier.
Porirua City councillor Litea Ah Hoi said that, although the state-house waiting lists had dropped dramatically in the region, there were still families who would benefit from bigger homes such as Vangellekom’s. “I know lots of families with more than three children who would dearly love to move into a home big enough to host them all.”
She supported moving on people who no longer needed bigger houses to make way for families of greater need.
That is the cost of not moving him. A struggling family with lots of kids is missing out.