National | Health

Porirua mother relieved her home will be warmer this winter

A Porirua mother is relieved her home will be more safe for her and her children this winter thanks to the Porirua East Housing Project, which brings together local community organisations in a bid to improve houses and ensure they're keeping children healthy.

The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, says, "{It was] just the little things that helped.  They gave heaters, blankets, pillows, door-stoppers to stop the heat from escaping.  The heat pump, the hot water cylinder and the upstairs and downstairs insulation."

Now her and twenty other Porirua families will receive much needed support and warmth for their homes under the project.

"I'm really sad because I tried to do everything that I could but it wasn't enough to help my kids.  I didn't believe it at first and then they came over and showed me things they could help me with.  I was shocked," the mother says.

Tū Ora Compass Health's Ranei Wineera-Parai has been heading the project and has secured funding from local organisations including the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust, which donated $125,000 to top up government funding.

Wineera-Parai says, "The Porirua East Housing Project is a collaboration that came about through knowing that there are a lot of health reasons that are impacting, particularly our babies, our tamariki, because of the state of their home."

Member of the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust, Nick Legget says, "We give a lot of money away every year in the Wellington region.  What we really like to do is see that resource go to whānau who are most in need."

Twenty homes, a mix of privately owned, rentals and state-owned are part of the project.  The families involved were referred to the project because their children have been in hospital with respiratory illnesses in the past six months.

Health Minister David Clarke is pleased with the project's progress and the benefits it has produced.

"I'm delighted when housing is brought up to scratch.  We know that a disproportionate burden on the health system [results from] poor housing as a result of conditions related to poverty," says Clarke.

"Its so much better," says the Porirua mother, "Its so much warmer now.  I haven't had to worry about taking my kids to the hospital or anything.  I'm really grateful that I'm one of the twenty.  I feel very blessed and honoured to be getting the help that I am."

Now she has no worries about her home this mother is looking forward to a healthy future for her tamariki.