THIS Christmas, the Laloulu family all have the same thing on their wish list – a home.
Since parents Raymond and Muniao and their six young children moved from NZ to Canberra last year, the family has been struggling to find permanent, affordable accommodation.
“We were staying with family, but it just got too crowded with six children under 12, so we didn’t know where to go, it’s hard to move around everywhere,” says stay-at-home mum Muniao.
The family turned to the St Vincent de Paul Society, which in the last 12 months has helped them find temporary accommodation and put them on a waiting list for permanent housing.
“Our kids love it in Canberra and we have some family here, so we really want to settle down – we just didn’t think it would be this hard, so we’re just waiting and hoping for government housing now,” says Muniao.
St Vincent de Paul support worker Kathy Miller, who has supported the Laloulu family in their search for permanent housing, says finding affordable housing can be difficult for any struggling family, particularly large families like the Laloulus.
“It’s very hard, especially when you’ve got six kids, to find affordable housing – there’s very little that would be available,” Kathy says.
“And around Christmas time, it’s added stress – it adds an extra dimension to a tough situation.”
According to St Vincent de Paul President Frank Brassil, the Society has seen a 12 per cent increase of families seeking help in the lead up to Christmas.
“Based on these statistics we are expecting an increase over the Christmas period,” Mr Brassil says.
“Last year, from November 2012 to January 2013, the St Vincent de Paul Society in Canberra/Goulburn visited over 4000 homes of people in need in our community. Our Conferences will also be providing assistance to those in need in the community during this Christmas period. This may involve having a friendly chat or it might involve providing information, advocacy, food or food vouchers, clothing, furniture, budget support, and assistance with utility bills or back-to-school costs.”
Muniao says she has her “fingers crossed” the family can find a home in the new year.
“I’m just very thankful to Vinnies, they’ve really helped us… I’m not sure what we would have done without Kathy,” she says.
More information on the St Vincent de Paul Christmas appeal at vinnies.org.au/page/Get_Involved/Fundraise/VIC/Christmas_Gift_Appeal/
Thanks to Santa at Cooleman Court, and to Cooleman Court and ALDI for providing the family with a gift voucher.
Main photo: Five of the six Laloulu children with Santa, from left, back, Evie, 11, Ethan, 4 and Mephi, 12. Front, Camilla, 8 and May, 11. Photo by Gary Schafer