Aroha Peta used to dread winter knowing the impact living in an uninsulated house in Hamilton would have on her children’s health.
Two months ago that all changed when she contacted Waikato District Health Board’s Māori health unit Te Puna Oranga for more information about a free ceiling and underfloor insulation project it promoted.
The project is part of Te Puna Oranga’s Project 270, which focuses on addressing child/whanau poverty. Cold, damp homes are major contributors to poor health including respiratory diseases and rheumatic fever.
“Our house has been miraculously transformed. It is remarkable what insulation has done for us. Our children want to sleep in their own beds and we don’t have to wrap ourselves up with blankets anymore to keep warm,” said Aroha.
The free ceiling and underfloor insulation project has been extended to include Tokoroa, Te Aroha, Te Kauwhata, Raglan and Otorohanga as well as Hamilton City, Huntly, Ngaruawahia. Approximately 150 further houses can be insulated free.
Ditre Tamatea, General Manager of Māori Health at Waikato DHB said poverty had a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of whānau and in particular children.
“Poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand means that many of our families and our tamariki live in cold, damp homes, often go hungry, have poor health and often have to contend with not only material poverty but poverty of opportunity.
“More than 600 homes in the Waikato DHB region will this year have free ceiling and floor insulation installed making it more affordable to heat the house and make the occupants warmer and healthier,” he said.
The project is called 270 because within Aotearoa New Zealand an alarming 270,000 children live below the poverty line, many more live just above it.
“Poverty is a major driver for poor health outcomes and the burden of whānau and child poverty falls disproportionately on Māori and Pacific Island communities.
“Most at risk are vulnerable babies and young children, who have no control over their circumstances.”
The benefits of the free home insulation project are already been felt by those who have had their homes insulated including Aroha.
Aroha and her children have lived in their rental accommodation for 13 years struggling to keep their house warm and dry especially when one of their children suffer from asthma and was continually having to go to the doctors.
“We use to dread the approach of winter with the kids getting sick and continuously having to go to the doctors because of the cold damp house we lived in.
“The condensation was terrible and I was always wiping condensation and mould away from the windows, doors, and ceilings etc.
One of my children suffers from asthma and he has certainly benefited from this project.
“I just want to thank Te Puna Oranga and the contractors that had the idea to look at families that are struggling to keep their homes and children warm. The free ceiling and floor insulation project here in the Waikato has been awesome. Thank you so much,” she said.
Te Puna Oranga manages the privately-funded scheme in partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and two insulation companies and will ensure that 600 high needs families have their homes insulated for free.
The scheme is an extension to the successful Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme, which insulated the homes of more than 85,000 families, about half of which were on low incomes.
In order to meet the criteria for assessment each applicant must meet the following criteria:
- The home must have been built before 2000 and be within 80kms of Hamilton city namely, Te Aroha, Putaruru, Tokoroa, Otorohanga and Te Kauwhata
- The primary property resident or owner must have a community services card
- There must be children under 16 years old living, or frequently staying, in the home
- The house is not a Housing New Zealand one.
For more information and application form go to www.waikatodhb.health.nz/tepunaoranga
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