A HOME insulation scheme that appears “too good to be true” is helping Tūranga Health whanau stay warm and that's a big plus for those managing chronic illnesses, says Healthy Homes kaiāwhina Memory Taylor.
Under the government scheme, $142.5 million has been allocated nationally over four years to fund grants covering two-thirds of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation.
But Gisborne has gone one better . . . Eastland Community Trust (ECT) has chipped in $1.6 million over that period to offer 100 percent funding to homeowners in the Gisborne/Tairāwhiti region.
Tūranga Health is serving as a vital link in getting that offer to the community.
“It's an opportunity many of our whānau think is too good to be true so they can be hesitant in taking it up,” says Tūranga Health chief executive Reweti Rophia.
“So we knew we'd need a real mover and shaker in the community who whānau could trust to take them through the process, and that's where Memory comes in.”
To qualify for the 100 percent funding, applicants must own their own home (built before 2008). They also need to have a Community Services or SuperGold card; or be living in a lower-income area; or be referred by a Healthy Homes provider like Tūranga Health.
“And that's it,” says Memory, who has already referred hundreds of homeowners for the scheme and, if required, is on call to help them through the process.
“We know that living in a warm home is much healthier for everyone, and especially for those managing chronic illnesses so this is something we can do to really make a difference.”
A cancer survivor herself, Memory knows how important a healthy home is to vulnerable whānau.
“If you are in a situation where you are sitting around a lot you feel the cold a lot more than if you are active.”
She cites the example of one member of Tūranga Health's Pasifika whānau, who has already accessed the scheme to top-and-tail his home in warmth-holding insulation.
“As well as managing diabetes himself, his daughter and moko were living with him so it was important they have a warm home,” she says.
“We were able to help them through the process of applying and having the home inspected and the insulation installed, and now they are all feeling the benefits.”
Reweti says it's a great way to ensure whānau are getting good results for the work they put into fostering a healthy lifestyle.
“It's frustrating to see whānau come to us for help in managing their conditions, getting great support around their health, diet and exercise, then going home to cold, drafty houses,” he says.
“That's just not going to work for them and that's why we have whole-heartedly embraced the Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme.”
Homeowners will be better off financially, too: It is estimated that an $1800 home insulation project could save that household up to $2857 each year in energy costs.
And Reweti says there's more good news to come. Once a house is adequately-insulated the homeowner can then apply for funding for a heating appliance (heat pump, or pellet or wood burner) for the main area of their home. Details of that part of the scheme will be announced soon.
“Many of our whānau live rurally in older properties that can no longer be considered to be warm, healthy homes,” he says.
“Through this scheme we can help them with that, and at the same time we're supporting them through our lifestyle programmes so they be the healthiest they can be.”
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