Healthy Homes Initiatives (HHIs) work with families, agencies and local partners to provide education and access to interventions which will create warm, dry and uncrowded homes.
Cold, damp, crowded homes can increase the risk of respiratory issues and other preventable health conditions, such as rheumatic fever and skin infections. There is strong evidence, nationally and internationally, of improved health outcomes resulting from warmer and drier homes.
Improving housing is also an equity issue, with Māori and Pacific families being over-represented in low-income households in areas of poorer quality and crowded housing.
The Healthy Homes Initiatives (HHIs) were established between December 2013 and March 2015 and cover 11 district health boards (DHBs) with a high incidence of rheumatic fever. Initially, the HHIs targeted low-income families with children at risk of rheumatic fever who were living in crowded households.
In 2016, the breadth of the programme was expanded. It focuses more broadly on providing warm, dry and healthy housing for:
- pregnant women
- low-income families with children aged between 0 and 5 who’ve been hospitalised with a specified housing-related condition
- families with children also between 0 and 5 for whom at least two of the social investment risk-factors apply.
How Healthy Homes Initiatives work
The HHIs identify eligible families, working with them to carry out a comprehensive housing assessment and complete an individualised action plan to create a warmer, drier, healthier home.
The HHIs then help families to get the interventions they need to create a better living environment, especially for their children. Interventions given to these families include help with accessing insulation, curtains, beds, bedding, minor repairs, floor coverings, ventilation, heating sources, Full And Correct Entitlement assessments through Work and Income, support with power bills, and finding alternative accommodation as needed.
The Ministry has a selection of resources and tips available on this website for creating and maintaining warm, healthy homes.
Who we work with
The Ministry of Health has worked closely with a number of key government agencies, such as Housing New Zealand (HNZ), Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the Energy Efficiency Conversation Authority (EECA) and, more recently, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to enhance the service for families.
For example, some families are eligible for the Rheumatic Fever Fast Track onto the social housing waitlist and families living in HNZ properties are able to access key capital interventions, such as insulation (usually within 90 days).
The 11 district health boards involved in providing HHI are:
- Auckland through Kainga Ora
- Waitemata through Kainga Ora
- Counties Manukau through the Auckland-wide HHI (AWHI)
- Northland through Manawa Ora
- Waikato through Whare Ora
- Wellington region (Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast) through Well Homes
- Lakes through its Health Homes Service
- Bay of Plenty through Healthy Homes BOP
- Hawke’s Bay through its Child Healthy Housing Programme
- Tairawhiti through Turanga Health HHI and Ngati Porou Hauora HHI.