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
  • curtains
  • beds and bedding
  • minor repairs
  • floor coverings
  • ventilation
  • 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 31,000 tamariki have been seen by HHI providers
  • Over 111,000 whānau members have been seen by HHI providers
  • 86% of referrals to the HHI have been either Māori or Pacific people
  • Over 100, 000 interventions received. These interventions include education, beds, bedding, curtains, draft stopping, heating, insulation and houses.
  • An outcome evaluation showed us that for every 10 children referred to the HHI, there is estimated to be one fewer hospitalisation, six fewer GP visits and six fewer filled prescriptions over the following 12 months.

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:


Te Tai Tokerau: Manawa Ora

Phone (09) 438 1015 or 021 415 665

Email manawaora@mahitahihauora.co.nz


Te Toka Tumai Auckland & Waitematā: Noho Āhuru

Phone 021 733 016 (Auckland), 021 733 016 (Waitemata)

Email housing@adhb.govt.nz


Counties Manukau: AWHI Healthy Homes Initiative, provided by the National Hauora Coalition (NHC)

Phone (09) 950 3325

Email referrals@awhi.co.nz


Waikato: Whare Ora

Phone 0800 WHARE ORA (0800 94273 672)

Email WhareOra@waikatodhb.health.nz


Bay of Plenty: Healthy Homes BOP

Phone 022 497 2529 / (07) 544 1882

Email bophealthyhomes@so.org.nz


Lakes: Healthy Homes Services

Phone 022 417 0247 (Rotorua) or (07) 384 2882 (Tūrangi)

Email healthyhomeshub@raphs.org.nz


Tairāwhiti: Turanga Health Healthy Homes Initiative and Ngāti Porou Hauora Healthy Homes Initiative

Phone (06) 869 0457 (Turanga Health HHI) or (06) 867 8550 (Ngāti Porou Hauora HHI)

Email admin@turangahealth.co.nz or Linda.hovell@nph.org.nz


Hawke’s Bay: Child Healthy Housing Programme

Phone (06) 8799 440

Email childhealthyhousing@hbdhb.govt.nz


Wellington: Well Homes

Phone 0800 675 675 or (04) 570 9002

Email wellhomes@huttvalleydhb.org.nz