Trust welcomes new govt heating grants

Past and present state houses in Brockville. Photo: ODT files
The Dunedin Cosy Homes Trust was very grateful to the Otago Community Trust — which had contributed about $2.5 million during the past five years Photo: ODT files

A boost in Government funding for home heating and insulation is an exciting opportunity for Dunedin homeowners, a local advocate says.

Dunedin Cosy Homes Trust project manager Jordana Whyte said the Government’s four-year $142 million Warmer Kiwi Homes would build on the good work that had been done in recent years.

The previous, National, government’s Warm Up New Zealand scheme, topped up with funding support from the Otago Community Trust, Dunedin City Council, and Central Lakes Trust, had ensured thousands of homes in the region had received insulation and improved heating.

However, the previous government funding component had run out in April, meaning many people had missed out, Ms Whyte said.

In the first quarter of 2018, the Cosy Homes Trust had received 355 referrals for household insulation, showing there was still a huge need, she said.

‘‘So it’s exciting to have this injection of funding.’’

The new insulation grants became available on July 1, for home owners who meet eligibility criteria — those who own a home built before 2008 and have a Community Services Card, or live in a New Zealand Deprivation Index decile 9 or 10 area, or have been referred through the Ministry of Health’s Health Homes Initiative.

The grants cover 67% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation and ground moisture barriers.

‘‘The Government will pick up most of the cost and, for Community Services Card holders, the third-party funders in Dunedin will pick up the rest,’’ Ms Whyte said.

‘‘That’s fantastic support.’’

The Dunedin Cosy Homes Trust was very grateful to the Otago Community Trust — which had contributed about $2.5 million during the past five years — and also for support received from other funders, she said.

‘‘The previous programme would have struggled without them.’’

From the second year, the Warmer Kiwi Homes grants will also cover the installation of a heating device, something Ms Whyte is very pleased about.

‘‘This will be the first time in a long time that heating has been included, and I think that will be of great benefit to people,’’ she said.

A public online tool, which would allow people to check where their homes sat in the deprivation index, was being developed but was not yet available.

In the meantime, people are welcome to email their address to Ms Whyte, who will look it up for them, at jordana@cosyhomes.org.nz.

Those who are not eligible for Warmer Kiwi Homes subsidies have other options available:

The DCC’s Warm Dunedin scheme allows people to use their rates to cover the cost of insulation.

ANZ bank also recently pledged $100 million of interest-free home lending to help insulate Kiwi homes, which will be available for mortgage customers.

 

STAYING WARM AND DRY

Dunedin and Otago have a cooler climate and comparatively older housing stock than other regions of New Zealand.

Many homes are poorly insulated or lack insulation altogether, leading to cold, damp conditions that impact health and wellbeing, and higher energy costs.

Here are some tips to help keep your home warm and dry:

  • Have good, double-layered curtains which have pelmets and/or touch the floor.
  • Reduce moisture by drying clothes outside and using extractor fans
  • in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Open windows and doors once a day for five minutes, during the sunniest part of the day, to refresh the air inside.
  • If you do these things in your home, it will be cheaper to heat.
  • These habits are important, regardless of the state of  insulation.

BRENDA.HARWOOD@thestar.co.nz 

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