A trust is offering free home insulation for Pacific families with community services cards, or whose members suffer health effects because of poor insulation.
Pacific health advocate Fa'amatuainu Tino Pereira launched the Pacific People's Wellbeing Trust in October 2011 to take advantage of home insulation subsidies offered by the Government's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Regional Public Health.
Combining these subsidies means Mr Pereira can offer free ceiling and floor insulation for needy Pacific families in Porirua, the Hutt Valley and Wellington, and subsidises 90 per cent of the cost for landlords with low-income Pacific tenants.
Mr Pereira said cold and damp uninsulated homes not only caused health problems like asthma, eczema, bronchitis and skin infections, but cost the Government money through doctors' visits, lost work hours for parents looking after sick children, and benefits for sick people.
"It's a critical factor in improving Porirua's wellbeing and sustaining it," he said.
The main reason Pacific families failed to insulate was not ignorance of insulation's benefits, but cost.
Money was spent on rent, food and power bills before anything else could be considered, Mr Pereira said.
"The last thing that gets addressed is health."
C J Berry is delivering insulation for the Pacific People's Wellbeing Trust through his employer Home & Dry.
He said Pacific families needed to spread the word that free insulation was available.
The company had insulated about 50 homes in the Wellington region since last October.
It aimed to insulate 200 more before June 30.
Mr Berry said the trust had funding to insulate 1000 more homes before June 2013, and he warned that Government funding was not guaranteed after that date, so he said families should take advantage of the scheme now.
The recent plunge in temperatures had seen a pickup of interest in the scheme, he said.
"There's nothing like the cold to get people thinking about insulation."
Most houses in eastern Porirua were built uninsulated in the 1950s and 1960s, but were easy to retrofit, he said.
* To apply for the Pacific People's Wellbeing Trust fund, call 0508 466 363. EECA can be contacted on 0800 358 676.
* Any homeowner can get 33 per cent off the cost of insulation, up to $1300, from EECA. The average cost of ceiling and floor insulation is $3100.
* Once insulation is installed, EECA offers $500 towards an energy- efficient heating system.
* Community Services Card (CSC) holders can get 60 per cent off the cost of insulation, or $1200 towards heating if the house is insulated. zLandlords whose tenants have a CSC can get the same benefits.
* The Pacific People's Wellbeing Trust offers Pacific homeowners with a CSC free insulation.
* Landlords with Pacific tenants who hold a CSC can get insulation installed for $300 through the Pacific People's Wellbeing Trust.
* Pacific people with cold or damp-related health problems can apply for free insulation from the trust.
* Since 2009, 1612 Porirua households have taken advantage of EECA's insulation subsidies.
- Kapi-Mana News