A new $1.8million initiative to improve housing in Kawerau - previously labeled New Zealand’s beneficiary capital - is being undertaken.
The three-year project ‘Neighbourhoods of Healthy Homes’ will involve 250 households in neighbourhoods where the housing stocks are below modern standards.
Partnered by BayTrust, the Eastern Bay Energy Trust (EBET), Energy Options, the Energy Options Charitable Company Limited and the Kawerau District Council the programme will use a range of methods to promote innovative, community-led solutions to the problems associated with economic and social deprivation.
It will empower neighbourhoods to identify their own needs and facilitate a range of positive outcomes, through sustainable solutions, which may include insulation installation, improved efficiency heating solutions, solar water heating, curtain bank schemes, dry firewood schemes, and essential repairs and maintenance.
BayTrust will contribute $400,000 to the project from its Henry Duncan Fund, which community development advisor Terri Eggleton says was established to support community-led and driven programmes which make measurable and sustainable differences.
“The concept for the fund was to focus on areas where a number of groups or agencies wish to work together to target environmental, economic, cultural, social or health issues and address the root causes of those issues.
“We look forward to seeing the Kawerau community empowered to identify and meet its own needs with long-term solutions.”
Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell says the initiative has the ability to profoundly impact the town and will have high visibility within the community and the wider region.
“It will focus on areas where real value can be created by building the ability for local people to help themselves and each other, and motivate other areas to follow their achievements.
“We believe this is a hugely important development which will move the whole town forward and on behalf of the Kawerau District.”
The project will see the development of local neighbourhood groups to facilitate self-assessments of household needs and develop plans and access grants and funding to meet those needs.
Examples of new services could be curtain banks and firewood banks, along with local employment opportunities and skill development over the longer term.
The project will be supported by a small team of staff, who will be responsible for encouraging neighbourhood participation, and helping liaise with funders, external agencies and solution providers.