Being prepared for winter

Published: 19 June 2018

In our Editor’s piece, we mentioned some of the preparation underway for winter 2018.

In our own Housing New Zealand backyard, we continue to be proactive to ensure our tenants are kept warm, dry and safe, particularly during the coldest time of the year.

This includes:

Insulation – ensuring ceiling and underfloor are insulated to the current standard

Warm and Dry – installing five interventions (carpet, heating, thermal drapes, range-hood and bathroom extractor fans) to help keep houses ventilated and heated. Since the Warm and Dry programme started in 2015,more than 30,000 Housing New Zealand homes across the country have had some form of intervention added to keep them warmer and drier in winter

Heating – replacing solid fuel burners with new, more efficient burners in regions that have adopted the Clean Air Act and, where applicable, installing heat pumps

Roof replacement – preventing leaks that damage the insulation. We try to identify these early and replace the roof before any leaks can cause major damage

Gas replacement programme – replacing gas with electricity at properties where there is an identified need.

More on the Government’s response and the role Housing New Zealand will play

Housing New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are adopting an all-hands-on-deck approach to preparing for winter which is strongly focused on collaboration and engagement.

We’re also working closely with other government agencies, providers and the wider housing sector to understand and react quickly to what’s happening on the ground and in our communities.

This approach will allow us to do everything we can to help New Zealanders get through winter safely.

The Winter 2018 Response will deliver more than 1,500 places across Housing First, transitional and public housing during winter 2018. The package will deliver:

  • up to 50 additional Housing First places in areas of high need
  • 416 additional transitional housing places (which includes 116 additional short-term contracted motel units with support services)
  • 911 additional Housing New Zealand properties
  • up to 160 public housing places from community housing providers.

This is just the start of what we are aiming to achieve over winter. We will always do more if we can, and we and MSD are working closely with our providers, the wider housing sector and communities to uncover all possible options to increase housing supply.

How you can help

The priority is to increase the number of houses, and support all New Zealanders to have a warm, safe and dry place to live.

We are always open to new and innovative ideas that will help us to increase housing supply, and any ideas of land we could use. This winter, we are specifically interested in hearing about:

properties that might be available over winter, such as seasonal worker accommodation or private rental homessmall land options suitable for temporary housing, with power and water connections already available, such as campgrounds, marae or private land.

If you know of someone who could provide a property for people who’ll need one this winter, please contact the Ministry of Social Development at housing@msd.govt.nz

New Winter Energy Payment

From 1 July 2018 seniors and people on a benefit will receive a Winter Energy Payment to help with the cost of heating homes during winter.

People don’t need to apply – if they qualify they will receive extra money automatically with other payments from Work and Income.

The Winter Energy Payment will be paid to people getting:

  • NZ Superannuation
  • Veteran’s Pension
  • Emergency Maintenance Allowance
  • Jobseeker Support
  • Jobseeker Support Student Hardship
  • Sole Parent Support
  • Supported Living Payment
  • Youth Payment
  • Young Parent Payment Emergency Benefit.

Single people with no dependent children will get $20.46 a week, and couples or people with dependent children will get $31.82 a week.

This payment doesn’t need to be paid back.

This year’s Winter Energy Payment will be paid from 1 July to 30 September. Next year, it will be paid from 1 May to 1 October.

The Winter Energy Payment won’t affect other payments received from Work and Income.

Find out more at www.workandincome.govt.nz(external link)

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