Sleeping rough was linked to Dad's mental illness. During the years prior to Takitimu House being set up, Dad was in a repetitive cycle: becoming unwell - losing his stable accommodation - sleeping rough - recovering from his illness - finding new accommodation. And repeat. Over time, the stable accommodation options became fewer and periods of illness longer, meaning he spent more time on the streets.
Takitimu House provided Dad with the stability he needed to recover after a long period of illness. From there, they were able to provide wrap-around support services, including assisting him in sorting out all the financial issues that had accumulated. He became part of a community. His respect for Annamarie and the Takitimu staff meant he did his best to adhere to the rules of the house, despite being unwell at times.
The journey from staying at Takitimu House to moving into long term accommodation spanned across multiple years. After staying at Takitimu House the first time, he was found solo accommodation but soon became unwell and the old cycle seemed to be starting again. However, Annamarie and the team welcomed Dad back to Takitimu House and continued to support him in the Takitimu environment.
Dad had a long and complicated relationship with mental health services, making access difficult. Annamarie's knowledge of the health sector in Tauranga and her relentless advocacy for Dad to have access to the required mental health services was a turning point. Combined with Dad's desire to engage with mental health services, he has finally been able to obtain a suitable medication and experience several years without a chronic mental health episode. This has been the essential key, in my opinion, for Dad now being in a position to live in independent long-term accommodation.
Through compassion, patience, stability, advocacy and aroha, Annamarie and the Takitimu House team have given Dad the opportunity to have a little place to call his own. His health is the best it has been in over 15 years and long-term, sustainable, accommodation is now a reality.