Bronwyn White from the district health board, Russ Aiton from the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust, Bill Dahlberg from the Canterbury Community Trust and Paul Brockie from Absolute Energy, have kick-started the Warmer Healthier Homes Project. Photo: Andrew Board.

Warming our coldest homes

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A hundred Nelson homes will be made warmer over the next year thanks to a new $300,000 project aimed at keeping people healthier.

The Warmer Healthier Homes Project was announced last week and will see homes insulated for free, which will see huge economic and health benefits to the region, say its founders.

The Canterbury Community Trust has partnered with the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust, Absolute Energy, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority in the project, aimed at providing low-income families, particularly those with high health risks, with warmer, more insulated homes.

Canterbury Community Trust’s Bill Dahlberg says the scheme is aiming to retrofit homes with insulation and draught-proof materials, and the initial funding will be made available for people referred by the health board. “Often, people in need don’t put their hand up, so we want to make sure that people with multiple hospitalisations will be first on the list. We want it to be a fair system so those in need get it first.”

Bill says they want the scheme to be a long term one and they’ll be able to retrofit 100 homes in the first year. After that, the group is hoping that other organisations will come on board and that there can be other spin-offs, like a curtain bank, that will help those trying to stay warm in the winter.

Paul Brockie, of Absolute Energy, says providing education is also important, and simple things like hot water temperature can make a big difference to power bills.

The scheme has been kick-started with a $300,000 grant from the Canterbury Community Trust.

The group hopes to start on its first house in the next few weeks.