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With winter in full swing, new research from The Warehouse has highlighted that nearly half of New Zealanders are living in unhealthy homes.
The survey of 1000 Kiwis, commissioned as part of The Warehouse’s The Warmhouse initiative, found that 46% of respondents are living with mould and damp in their homes, with young people and renters disproportionately impacted.
Chief Sustainability Officer, David Benattar, says the research reflects the difficult reality for many Kiwis trying to keep themselves dry, warm and healthy during winter.
"We know that budget is a major consideration in addressing healthy home problems, with 36% of people reporting cost as their reason for inaction.
The Warehouse has developed an online content portal called The Warmhouse, to educate Kiwis on affordable ways to make their homes healthier. The hub features information and advice sourced from Gen Less, an Energy, Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) initiative, as well as a series of animated videos to bring problems and solutions to life.
“There are many low-cost or no-cost actions that Kiwis can take to stay dry and warm; we want to show them how small changes can make a big difference to their home,” says Benattar.
“We also need to think about the impact of poor insulation on energy consumption and carbon emissions. All in one, this is a complex issue with numerous areas of impact we as a country should prioritise," he says.
The survey also found that renters are twice as likely to report the presence of mould in their home compared to homeowners and are twice as likely to rate their home as not being warm or dry or as having efficient lighting or heating.
Working with the Ministry of Health's 'Healthy Homes Initiative', Sustainability Options co-founder Nik Gregg says the findings of this survey echo what they see every day as they seek to help improve the housing conditions for our most at-risk families.
"Sadly, children without beds, bedrooms at below 10 degrees, families sleeping in the lounge to stay warm, homes with damp carpets, mouldy curtains and draughty windows are all too common," says Gregg.
In parallel to sharing easy ways to improve Kiwi's living conditions, The Warehouse is also supporting its charity partners Whānau Āwhina Plunket and Variety – the Children’s Charity, to help vulnerable families keep warm over winter with a fundraising campaign across its 90 stores. The Warehouse is kickstarting the campaign by donating $20,000 in gift cards so families across New Zealand can purchase items like warm bedding, thermal curtains and sufficient heating.
"We know that more than one in three children will be hospitalised due to preventable respiratory illness this winter,” says Variety chief executive Susan Glasgow. “Funds raised through this initiative will help to provide beds and warm bedding to Kiwi kids who need it most."
Whānau Āwhina Plunket CEO Amanda Malu says the organisation see first-hand how unhealthy some homes can be.
"We are out in the community every day and see first-hand how cold and unhealthy many of the homes our precious pēpi and tamariki are living in during this absolutely critical time in their development. We are grateful for the support from The Warehouse and its customers to help us help these families stay warm and healthy this winter."
Throughout June, customers can support The Warmhouse initiative, by adding a dollar to their purchase at any of The Warehouse stores nationwide or online.