Community Project – My Whare

Giving Back to the Community

Our parent company, Steel Frame Solutions, Strachan Group Architects and New Zealand Steel are proud to be helping the Vision West Community Trust in their vision to end homelessness through a youth housing programme called ‘My Whare’.

My Whare is an innovative programme in response to youth homelessness, placing state-of-the-art one-bedroom Kiwi Tiny Home styled studios on residential properties to give youth who have had a rough start in life, the opportunity for a brighter future. The programme centres on the holistic development of young people offering mentor support for life skills, education and employment.

The ‘My Whare’ programme utilises tiny home technology, and a strengths-based youth development approach to offer trans-permanent housing and intensive mentoring during the young person’s journey into adulthood. VisionWest will offer the programme to young people who are transitioning out of care or homelessness.

The community programme is designed to be tailored to individual needs with each participant co-designing the goals and key milestones for their journey. Each studio is designed to be located on a residential property of a host family who offers the young person a connection to the community through shared meals and experiences while giving the young person enough space to grow independently.

Major Sponsor & Project Links


Here are some frames just finished at our factory, now on their way to the My Whare community project.

kiwi tiny homes steel frame tiny homes in new zealand for sale design and build best price customized design blog 42

Why My Whare is Important for our Community

Tyson – 19 years old
I moved out west four months ago,  I was actually on the streets out south in Manurewa before that.

For a number of years, I went between home and the streets. There were a lot of family problems and family breakdowns. I just never had a sense of belonging to a family.
For starters, my Dad has never been in my life. I have met him once when I was 11 but he wants nothing to do with me now. All my siblings have their fathers in their lives, but not me.

I had a troubled time with my mum too. The troubles from home pushed me to the streets I was 13 when I first ended up there. Mum came home, angry from work and took it out on me I ended up getting kicked out. Being on the streets for the first time was weird and a new experience. I felt like I shouldn’t be in this situation at all. My life got far worse. I survived by connecting with others who were on the streets. We looked out for one another.

The people I met became my family and probably prolonged my experience. I had nights sleeping in my cousin’s car outside my Mum’s place, but she wouldn’t let me back in the house. I ended up down the line in Tauranga, living in the bush. I had travelled there with my cousin and then he bailed on me. I would go to the mall and hustle for money. I finally went to WINZ and they referred me to an agency They got in contact with my Nan and then paid for me to get back to Auckland.

Home life living with Nan wasn’t good. I was sleeping on a two-seater couch. There wasn’t enough food. I went back to the streets in Mangere. I started getting into fights and drugs. I lost some friends during that time. Then one night I got jumped on the streets. It’s just a vicious cycle. There are people who have no choice who are out there. There are also dangerous people out there.

Youth Housing would have changed my life. I know it would have. It’s really important to feel welcome For me, I felt welcome on the streets but I wasn’t welcome at home. That’s super important. If I had had people believe in me and support me I wouldn’t have been on the streets for so long. I think if I had that, I could have got out of it. I now want to use my experience to help others. This community Youth Housing that VisionWest is trying to do. I really hope it works. I want to get right behind it.

Jay – 16 years old
It happened down in Whakatane. I kept running away from my Dad cause I had issues with my family. Every time we got into an argument, I would run away. I would crash at my friend’s house for a couple of nights. Then I would head home on the bus. The last time I left my Dad and step mum told me I couldn’t come home. They said I had to be a big girl. I was on the streets for two weeks.

I didn’t really eat during those times, I was just angry I got real tired but I just didn’t care. At the end of that time I went and stayed with my Aunty. She had been looking for me for two weeks.
If it wasn’t for her I would still be on the streets, probably missing by now. I think I would have starved.

The youth who don’t have family members to take them have got nowhere to go. I am now living in Tamaki with my sister. That’s how I got to come to VisionWest. I am grateful that VisionWest has given me a chance at education. I am studying for my level two and hoping to get a job later this year. My dream is to be a bartender.

Share this post

You Might also Enjoy

Why Kiwi Tiny Homes

Our steel which is made by Axxis® steel has been recognised by the Asthma Foundation of New Zealand as a “sensitive choice”.

Our product doesn’t support the growth of mould or rot, and the stability of steel protects against cracked linings and cladding. It doesn’t emit gases or other vapours.

Steel is 70% lighter than timber and stronger in tiny homes, so this means more design capabilities.

For enquiries call or text: 027 480 6186 – if you’ve got some plan ideas, email them through our contact us page.