You can give a man a fish, or you can teach him how to fish – and Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust is taking the latter approach with their housing strategy called He Iwi Kāinga which has just received a $320,000 grant from BayTrust’s strategic partnership fund (split over two years).
Since 2019, He Iwi Kāinga has carried out over 100 ‘Whare Ora’ assessments on homes owned by Tūwharetoa iwi members to identify issues that need addressing like damaged roofs, inadequate ventilation and/or heating, damaged joinery, blocked gutters and faulty wiring.
“Initially we talked to BayTrust about funding some of those repairs,” explains the Trust’s General Manager, Sean te Heuheu. “But getting in there and fixing the houses wouldn’t address the underlying issues. Which is why we’ve come up with the idea to run workshops to teach people how to maintain their home with an aim to reduce the scale of repairs that are required long-term.”
Sean says many people in Tūwharetoa live in cold damp homes where maintenance has been minimal. “We want to change behaviours long-term and improve the standard of living for our whānau by providing opportunities to learn how to maintain and improve our homes.”
Workshop topics will include how to maintain gutters, how to check roofs for leaks and correct minor issues, how to ensure chimneys are safe and clean to use, window repairs and maintenance, and how to ventilate homes properly so they don’t become damp and mouldy.
“If you go around to a lot of homes you’ll find tomato plants or something growing out of the gutters, which then creates a flood back into the house during heavy rain and causes water damage. We want to teach people how to clear their gutters, how to check screws and nails are sitting flush on roofs, how to check chimneys are safe and clean to use, and other basic maintenance tasks,” Sean says.
Wide Support Available
Senior Kāinga Coach Kelley Hema-Samuels says people who have already had their homes assessed and issues identified will be invited to attend the workshops initially. Further assessments will continue to be carried out by their Whare Ora technical building assessor. “Our waiting list for these home assessments continues to grow,” Kelley says. “Once we’ve shown our whānau how to carry out the maintenance or repairs at the workshops, we’ll then supply the basic equipment they will need to complete the job at home.”
BayTrust’s funding will also cover other resources like smoke alarms, thermometers and humidity sensors to keep track of levels inside a home. “There are also some funds to support the EECA (Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority) grants to improve insulation and heating. So where the whānau has to come up with 20% of the installation cost, that’s also coming from BayTrust.”
In many cases, professional tradespeople such as roofers, electricians or plumbers will need to be engaged to fix the problems that have been found. Sean says He Iwi Kāinga is hoping to source further support to carry out bulk repairs in an affordable manner.
“This money from BayTrust is hugely helpful. We’re lucky to have received support from BayTrust from the very beginning – they helped kick start our whole He Iwi Kāinga programme.”
There are multiple initiatives that sit under the wider He Iwi Kāinga housing strategy including advice and advocacy, and providing low-cost affordable rentals – the first of which have just been built in Tūrangi to provide a stepping-stone into home ownership.
“In addition to the Whare Ora workshops, this new funding from BayTrust will also help pay for a support person whose role is to support our affordable rental tenants and provide them with the skills and encouragement they need to pursue their housing aspirations. We will wrap a network of support around them to help them better understand what it takes to achieve that.”
Sean says the $320,000 grant will make a big difference to the lives of many families in the region. “We just want to get in there and get as many people involved in the kaupapa as possible.”