There is a strong relationship between housing and health.
Cold and damp housing contributes to respiratory disease, poor mental health and an exacerbation of chronic conditions.
Overcrowded housing is associated with the spread of infectious diseases such as meningococcal disease.
Housing size, location, structure, and materials also affect occupants' health, as does the way people heat, ventilate and generally use their homes.
New Zealand has very high rates of asthma and respiratory infections – with children, the elderly and those on lower incomes being worse off.
New Zealand research into housing and disability shows that inappropriate housing is detrimental to disabled people's independence, social opportunity and safety.
Warmer Healthier Homes Programme
People are referred to the programme by their doctor, hospital specialist or another healthcare worker.
People with greater health needs such as respiratory and chronic conditions are prioritised. Community Services Card holders may also be accepted in to the programme, and landlords are strongly encouraged to contribute.
People with greater health needs are prioritised because they are more likely to:
- delay seeking help in the first instance
- be sleep deprived or be sleeping in overcrowded rooms
- have reduced income
- be missing school or work due to ill health
- worry about the cost of home heating.
Older People's Housing
A well-maintained house is essential to older people's health and wellbeing.
Older people may find home maintenance difficult. For this reason, the Good Homes: Repairs and Maintenance Assessment and Solutions checklist is available to help assess what maintenance work should be prioritised.