Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau – Insulating our Northland Homes
Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau is a joint venture partnership between two long established Northland charitable community enterprises – He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust from Moerewa and the Community Business & Environment Centre (CBEC) from Kaitaia. The project is governed by the Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau Governance Group, a collaborative group of Government, health and community organisations.
This initiative retrofits insulation into high need Northland homes for free, with the aim of reducing the number of GP visits and hospital admissions for tamariki with respiratory related health conditions, addressing health inequalities and reducing health disparities for the benefit of the Northland community.
There are 1.6 million homes in New Zealand, at least 1,000,000 of which have inadequate or no insulation. Of these approximately 300,000 are occupied by people on low incomes. Many New Zealand homes are substandard for a developed country and 30% of our homes fall below World Health Organisation recommended levels.
Cold, damp homes can affect health and there is high seasonal mortality in NZ especially amongst the elderly. NZ has one of the highest asthma rates in the world.
In Northland at least 12,000 homes built before 2000 are owned by people on a ‘low income’. It is Healthy Homes’ aspirational goal that by 2020 all low income owner occupied homes built before 2000 will be retrofitted.
The free retrofit includes: Ground cover, under floor insulation, draught stopping of doors, insulating ceiling space and lagging of hot water pipes and cylinders.
So far, between April 2008 and June 2015 Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau has retrofitted 7,203 Northland homes and this number continues to grow.
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The Wellington School of Medicine which showed that insulating homes provides health and social benefits (Howden-Chapman et al, 2007):
Significantly warmer and drier indoor living environments, Improved self-rated physical and psychological health, and for respiratory-related illness: Fewer days off school and work, Reduced hospital admissions and reduced GP visits