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.
- 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.
The WHO recommends that improved housing conditions can save lives, prevent disease, increase quality of life, reduce poverty, and help mitigate climate change. Housing is becoming increasingly important to health in light of urban growth, ageing populations and climate change.
Is your house insulated? Do you have a safe way to heat your space? There are options for both home owners and renters.
See the Making your home warm page to find out what support is available, including:
- Warmer Kiwi Homes grants for home owners towards the cost of getting insulation or a heater installed
- rental home insulation and other Healthy Homes requirements
Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature is important for mental and physical wellbeing and can reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
See the Keeping your home warm and dry page to find out what resources and support are available, including:
- Tips for heating your home safely and affordably, and keeping the damp out
- Support if you need help with winter energy bills, firewood, bedding, curtains, heaters and clothes.
Repairs and maintenance
A well-maintained house is essential to older people's health and wellbeing, but older people may find home maintenance difficult.
The Good Homes: Repairs and Maintenance Assessment and Solutions checklist is available to help prioritise maintenance work. Download the guide here.
Older people are frequently told downsizing is the best pathway to a comfortable home in older age. Many people want to stay where they are or want to consider a range of options. Finding the best size home for you may be more important than downsizing.
The My Home, My Choices Ngā Kete o te Whare website includes online tools to help you make decisions. Go to the website here.
- Energywise.govt.nz for information about the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
- Home sweet healthy home is a checklist from the Asthma Respiratory Foundation NZ to keep your home dry, warm and pollution free.
- Keeping your home warm and dry this winter gives useful information and some quick tips on reducing moisture in your home and preventing the spread of germs.
- Winter Heating Guide (Consumer NZ) provides in-depth advice about the four steps for a warmer and healthier home.
- Tenancy Services Healthy Homes Insulation Standards
- How to raise concerns about your rental home's insulation standards with your landlord
- Good Homes: Repairs and Maintenance Assessment and Solutions checklist for older people to help prioritise maintenance work.
- My Home, My Choices Ngā Kete o te Whare offers tools to help people make decisions about the pathway to a comfortable home in older age.
Page last updated: 16/08/2022