Friday, July 19, 2024

Govt to streamline cyclone recovery funding application process

The Government has announced $17.5 million to further support communities and community providers impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, and the streamlining of application processes to support a faster and smarter response and recovery.

“The Government is continuing to focus on and support the locally-led recovery with further support on the way for communities and community groups in cyclone affected regions,” said Minister for Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni.

“The damage from Cyclone Gabrielle is extensive. People and families have been displaced, whole communities have been devastated, businesses have been hard hit and social providers working at the frontline are continuing to see increased demand,” she said.

The next phase will see further support for community food providers in affected regions and bulk purchasing of food for distribution.

“This will support providers to meet demand for food assistance in their communities, and will mean providers are less likely to be putting extra strain on already stretched supermarkets,” the Minister said.

“To bolster the response on the ground, disability providers with Care in the Community disability funding will be able to pivot to support cyclone and flood impacted households. This will create greater capacity to support more disabled people than is currently possible with only five providers.

“Whilst having increased support available for providers and community groups is important, it’s equally as important that the process for applying is as seamless as possible.”

Minister Sepuloni said the Ministry of Social Development was also proactively reviewing and streamlining the application process to make it easier to access the Community Provider Support Funds.

“In addition to this, we are increasing the amount of money they can access. As we have learnt more about the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle in particular, we have heard that the current funding caps are too limiting,” she said.

The cap will increase for the Provider Fund from $7,000 to $40,000, which is set to benefit providers who currently receive regular government funding in the social sector and who are involved in the response including Whānau Ora and family violence providers for example. The Community Fund, which provides funding for smaller community groups, will increase from $3,500 up to $20,000.

“I’m confident and it is my expectation that increasing the cap will better serve our response and recovery, allowing for the existing funds to be distributed at a faster rate and better reflect the types of needs identified by community groups.”

“We are focused on backing our community and NGO providers who we know have been pivotal in supporting their communities as part of the flood and cyclone response,” Ms Sepuloni said.

Associate Minister for Cyclone Recovery, Barbara Edmonds, has welcomed the NEMA announcement of a streamlined mechanism to speed up funding access for community groups for costs already incurred during the Cyclone response.

“These groups have been instrumental to the cyclone response and we are extremely grateful for their mahi. It’s important to reimburse them as quickly and easily as possible so they can continue the fantastic work they do for their communities,” she said.

“Many groups dug deep into their own resources, which are now under considerable strain. This additional support by way of reimbursement, will help marae, Iwi, Pacific, ethnic and recognised rural and community groups to continue delivering essential support to people, families and their households.

“The $12 million funding for NEMA will provide fast reimbursement of costs already incurred by eligible organisations during the state of national emergency, rather than though NEMA’s existing processes.

“An additional $3 million will cover costs not covered by existing funding mechanisms but which were essential to support the immediate response, such as buying generators,” Ms Edmonds said.

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