Thursday, April 25, 2024

MSD lockdown response swings into action

The Ministry for Social Development (MSD) has again swung into action to help people and families affected by the current COVID-19 alert levels.

“The Government recognises that in many instances social service, community, iwi and Whānau Ora organisations are best placed to provide vital support to the communities impacted by COVID-19,” says Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. 

“Funding allocated to these services in Budget 2020 is helping providers meet the immediate need created by COVID-19 and plan for increased demand,” she said.

“MSD are in contact with social service providers in Auckland, and the feedback they are receiving is that while providers are busy, they are well placed, and able to meet the needs of the community.”

The Minister said one area experiencing increased demand currently was foodbanks. 

“The Auckland Food Secure Network is doing great work getting food to vulnerable families and is operating in Level 3 under strict Health and Safety protocols,” she said.

“Emergency Food Grants are also available through Work and Income for people who qualify.

“I am receiving regular reports from MSD and so far I’m confident there is sufficient support in place to help the Auckland community at this time.”

She encouraged anyone who needed help to reach out to the services in their community, or contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 for guidance.  

“The Papatoetoe helpline that was set up for the school community is still in operation and will continue to provide bespoke support to the community most affected by this outbreak,” said Ms Sepuloni.

Minister for Whānau Ora, Peeni Henare said “Commissioning Agencies have activated their respective alert level settings and are working with at least 19 Māori and Pasifika community providers in Tāmaki Makaurau to get assistance and information to whānau.”

“They have quickly stood up mobile testing stations to support at-risk communities, and redeployed support for foodbanks, with six food hubs planned for Auckland over the next week,” he said.

“We are targeting communications through their networks and workforce so whānau are informed and have clear direction about alert level guidelines and public health information. 

“One of the agencies Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is coordinating the distribution of 120,000 masks and another, Pasifika Futures, is supporting the distribution of 1,000 education packs to keep young people connected and engaged over lockdown.”

“We know that families can come under increased strain during Level 3 and family violence support services are available,” added Minister Sepuloni. 

“If you feel unsafe and need support, please get in touch with the Police, or a local family violence support provider who will help guide you and get the help you need,” she said.

“There is also support for your young people who may need it through local service providers, MSD or Youthline, who are operating and ready to help during Level 3. 

“If you need support please reach out.”

A list of providers who have been funded to provide support during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here:

MSD has a dedicated email for people who need advice on available community services during the current Alert Level restrictions.

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