Sunday, June 16, 2024

Clean bill of health for homes initiative

The latest Healthy Homes Initiative three-year evaluation report has revealed more than 31,000 children, pregnant people and 111,000 of their family members are warmer and healthier thanks to the programme.

Associate Minister of Health, Ayesha Verrall said the Healthy Homes Initiative had delivered over 100,000 interventions – providing education, beds and bedding, curtains, housing relocation, and heating to those who need it most.

The Government recently expanded the scheme to cover the whole country by the end of the year.

“It is our belief as a Government that everyone deserves a warm, dry, healthy home,” said Dr Verrall.

“Poor housing stock can make people sick and by improving housing conditions, people are healthier and more likely to stay in school or in work, while also relieving pressure on the health system.

“These results support our decision to expand the programme to nationwide coverage. We inherited a programme that was underfunded and narrowly targeted. We’ve invested $30 million in the initiative and in Budget 22 funded its extension to the whole country.

“We anticipate that this expansion can extend the benefits of the programme to a large number of people across the whole country.

“This is an example of our wellbeing investment working. Programmes like this are improving the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders and are a key component of our plan to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child,” she said.  

Initially, the programme targeted low-income families with children at risk of rheumatic fever, but was expanded to focus on families with children aged up to five and pregnant women.

Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio said the Healthy Homes Initiative had made a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of over 31,000 tamariki/hapū māmā and over 111,000 members of their whānau/aiga.

“It’s significant that 94% of referrals identify as Māori or Pacific. Many in our communities live in multi-generational households and have multiple health conditions,” Minister Sio said.

The programme is part of the Government’s wider housing programme which includes major investment in rebuilding the public housing sector (10,000 additional homes and counting), retrofitting state houses to bring them up to standard and billions of dollars for critical housing infrastructure.

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