Contributing to Auckland’s Healthy Homes Initiative

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Beacon has been contributing our skills and expertise to a team undertaking a co-design process to find community-led solutions to housing issues in South Auckland.

From late 2015 The Southern Initiative has been using a co-design process to explore a range of housing-related interventions to create warm, dry, healthy homes for Auckland’s Healthy Homes Initiatives.

AWHI was the first Healthy Homes Initiative set up by the Ministry of Health as part of the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme to reduce household crowding and the subsequent transmission of strep throat bacteria (which can lead to rheumatic fever).   It covers the Counties Manukau DHB area. Since then, Healthy Homes Initiatives have expanded to Northland, Auckland and Waitakere (Kainga Ora), Waikato, Wellington, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti District Health Board regions.

Awhi and Kainga Ora are free services to support low income families to have warmer, drier and healthier homes, that are not overcrowded.  The multi-disciplinary co-design team has been looking at and testing interventions to improve housing for these families.

The co-design put the users - the families involved with the Healthy Homes Initiatives - at the centre, asking what were their drivers, and what were their needs? The team developed insights from interviewing families and those involved in the Healthy Homes Initiatives.  Out of these insights, a wider stakeholder workshop brainstormed a range of possible ideas (prototypes).  Since them, the team has been trying out these ideas to see what is effective.  This process is detailed in the Stage One report below.

The team are currently testing and refining these prototypes:

  1. A letter to landlords from the District Health Board identifying that the health of tenants may be linked to the house condition
  2. Minor Repair Service to undertake low cost and high impact minor home repairs for private rentals and low income home-owners.  This includes a landlord liaison role to strengthen the landlord’s understanding and buy-in to the improvements needed.  
  3. Working with Auckland Council Compliance and MBIE Tenancy Compliance and Investigations teams to test how to best to ensure properties are brought up to standard.
  4. Building capacity and capability within existing curtain banks including Auckland-wide curtain drives to boost the available stock
  5. Home performance training for Healthy Homes Initiative assessors - including simple and practical tips on making a home warmer and drier based on science and expertise.
  6. A locality-based ‘peer to peer’ empowerment model of home performance knowledge - supporting Kootuitui Ki Papakura - whānau  and Ko Huimano
  7. Testing whether a power voucher and education would help families to heat their homes more in winter.
  8. Leveraging other resources to support families such as Healthy Rentals.

 A second report is due out this year with the progress made on these prototypes.

  • 01-Jan-1970 (Report )

    Healthy Homes Initiatives Auckland: Co-design Process Stage One Report (PDF 2.2MB)

    The Southern Initiative

    This report from The Southern Initiative details the first stage of the co-design process which looked at developing healthy housing interventions in Auckland.  This covers the initial empathy interviews, insights gathered, brainstorming of ideas (prototypes) and initial testing of the prototypes.