Healthy Homes Initiative: Three year outcomes evaluation
Findings from the Healthy Homes Initiative: Three year outcomes evaluation, published on 3 October 2022, show the number of hospitalisations for referred tamariki and their wider whānau was reduced by 19.8 percent after the intervention, and that when people were hospitalised, these hospitalisations were shorter and less severe.
The evaluation report also highlights that the Healthy Homes Initiative is making a tangible contribution to better health and social outcomes for referred whānau.
Read the report here on our website: Healthy Homes Initiative: Three year outcomes evaluation
Why we need healthier 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.
About Healthy Homes Initiatives
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 people
- 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.
In 2021 the Government announced additional funding to expand the reach and impact of the programme. This includes expanding the programme to the whole country from 1 July 2022.
How Healthy Homes Initiatives works
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
- beds and bedding
- minor repairs
- floor coverings
- heating sources
- Full And Correct Entitlement assessments through Work and Income
- support with power bills
- finding alternative accommodation as needed.
Reach and impact of the Healthy Homes Initiatives
- To date, over 36,000 tamariki have been seen by HHI providers.
- Over 130,000 whānau members have been seen by HHI providers.
- 77% of referrals to the HHI have been either Māori or Pacific people.
- Over 118,000 interventions have been received (i.e. beds, bedding, curtains, heating, insulation, education, support to find alternative accommodation).
Who we work with
Te Whatu Ora has worked closely with a number of key government agencies such as Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Ministry of Social Development (MSD), 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 Kāinga Ora properties are able to access key capital interventions such as insulation (usually within 90 days).
Healthy Homes Initiative providers
Te Whatu Ora works with these providers around the motu: