When I came to TMNT I was in ‘crisis’. I had lost my Job and had been looking for somewhere to live for a while but was unable to find somewhere that I could reasonably afford. I had no other options left and was not looking forward to sleeping in my car, I can tell you.
Upon presenting to the shelter door I was afforded a warm and hearty “hello” by all the staff including Annamarie the Manager. After an induction process I was shown a beautifully made and comfortable bed and then left to mingle with the other clients who were also warm and sincere in their greetings. I immediately knew that I had come to the right place, I knew somehow that I would be safe and happy here for the meantime.
Annamarie came across as being forever “chirpy” warm and positive and I found as time went on that even her gentle chastisements are really for our own good in the end (more about her to follow).
I was introduced to Diana and Lance who both govern with grace and the forever helpful Brent told me that I could stay as long as I needed just as long as I was making an effort to progress and improve my situation. This was “music to my ears” and I determined at that point to try and make a real go of things here.
The next morning I had an appointment with Tracey the Social Worker who was wonderful. She asked me ‘101’ questions and was extremely thorough in her assessment of me and my needs. She then put into place an extremely generous and exhaustive plan with which to aid me, ranging from medical needs to the offer of educational help should I request it “Brilliant”. It was a very convivial and pleasant experience, and Tracey has continued to be both supportive, wise and an excellent “sounding board” during my stay here. I know that I can rely on her for good advice. She has recently arranged expert budgeting advice to guide me through these days of my impecunity and insolvency.
In short, all staff including Tim who has only just begun can be relied upon to be both supportive and friendly. This attitude shines through in the atmosphere of TMNT, and all the men who stay here reflect that, so that I feel that I am living with a great bunch of guys.
Physically the premises are beautifully maintained and clean, with peaceful and uplifting grounds that we grow vegetables within.
I quickly found out how effective Annamarie can be when called upon. I had received a ticket from the City Council for not having an up to date rego displayed on my car. This amount, by way of a fine, was way beyond what I could afford to pay on my benefit so I approached Annamarie for advice. She very quickly sorted everything by writing a letter to the Council describing my circumstances and then drove me to the Post Office to purchase the required registration. This ensured that my car was legal and safe to attend a hearing I was required to attend outside of Tauranga and no further debt / fines would be incurred. The Council waived the matter and I am paying back a small amount each week to TMNT. I’m very grateful for all of this as I had no idea what to do when I first approached Annamarie. The budgeters are working with my budget so that I don’t have this problem again.
She has also been super supportive of my efforts to rehabilitate myself for which I am also very grateful. If I am going to church or AA meetings she allows me to stay out past the TMNT curfew (as she does for all the men who stay here) and she has ensured my bed is kept for me when I have been away overnight at hearings and meetings that are required in order to get me back to work.
We are constantly encouraged to do healthy positive things, to engage in behaviours and ways of living that are good for us e.g. daily showers and keeping our bedrooms clean and tidy. These are small things I know but this extends to support with the logistics around attending AA/NA and they also host a weekly Therapy Group held through a Councillor from a local Drug and Alcohol Clinic (Hamner).
The Good Neighbour Foundation and other members of the community also donate to the Shelter so that there is nearly always good, nutritious food available on the table. Most of the clients here end up gaining weight so that as a result of everything that I have described so far, Maslo’s Hierarchy of Needs is all fulfilled.
We become happy and confident, supported men with a goal and purpose in life. This is something that most of us have been without for so long. I have already seen the excellent ‘end results’ and am grateful to be here and part of the process, so to speak.
I know that for myself, I no longer feel depressed and anxious when I wake, now I jump out of bed happy to greet the day.