Healthy Homes - Tai Tokerau
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their family ...including housing"
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25.
Housing has long been acknowledged as a key determinant of health particularly for people on low incomes, and those who are prone to discrimination. Several international reports highlight the link between inadequate heating, damp, cold and mouldy houses and poor health. Many New Zealand houses are cold, damp and inadequately heated. Time use surveys show we spend 75% of our time inside, and if we are elderly, or ill it is more like 90%. The average temperature of a NZ house is 16*C (the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 18-21*C or if you ill / disabled 23*C). Every year there are 1600 excess winter deaths from respiratory, circulatory conditions (in comparison there are about 900deaths from car accidents).
However it has only been in the last ten years that the health sector has begun to engage in housing interventions that aim to improve health.
Northpower is pleased to be involved in Tai Tokerau Healthy Housing project that aims to retrofit (insulate) over 5000 homes over the next five years. Although this project does not attempt to solve all housing and health related issues it does aim to significantly increase the number of insulated homes in Northland, therefore reducing cold, dampness and mould and the resulting health problems.
The majority of the funding is coming from ASB Community Trust, EECA, other sources of funding are Housing New Zealand, Northland Health, Northland PHOs, Northpower, Top Energy, Contact. Other groups involved within the governance group and who are supporting the project include Te Puni Kokiri, Northland Housing Forum, Tai Tokerau MAPO Trust, and the Ministry of Social Development.
The retrofitting package includes ceiling and under floor insulation, ground moisture barriers, hot water cylinder wraps, pipe lagging and draught proofing. The project will prioritize low-income families with high health needs, who own their own home.
If you would like to take advantage of the Healthy Homes offer you can ring 0800 RETROFIT (0800 738763) or download a Healthy Housing application form.
The work of Tai Tokerau Healthy Housing is supported by research undertaken by the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences He Kainga Oranga Housing and Health Research Programme. For more information go to www.wnmeds.ac.nz