Housesitters Find a Community in COVID-19 NZ
After struggling to find an affordable apartment in Nelson, a Canadian-New Zealand couple signed up to be housesitters, and ended up booking back-to-back sitting gigs for an entire year. But when COVID-19 began, Business Insider reports, a 7-month sit was cancelled, leaving the pair with nowhere to go to safely isolate and prepare for the nationwide lockdown. Jessica Wynne Lockhart (pictured left) describes how the pandemic affected her “unusual living arrangement”.
“Two days before the housesit was meant to start, the homeowners cancelled their trip abroad. My freelance income had started to dry up, so we weren’t in the position to sign a lease. New Zealand was on the brink of one of the strictest lockdowns in the world and we had nowhere to live, let alone self-isolate,” Lockhart writes.
“‘Who can we even ask for help? We don’t know anyone,’ I thought miserably. ‘We only know cats and dogs.’
“That’s when I realised that we did know people. Quite a few, actually, and all over New Zealand. Within an hour, we had a place to stay – one of the families that we’ve housesat for on multiple occasions offered up the granny flat on their property.
“[Housesitting is] more than just a system based on trust – it’s a community built on generosity.”
Original article by Jessica Wynne Lockhart, Business Insider, June 1, 2020.