Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Accommodation / Housing

IIMHL New Zealand Special Update

The following links are a summary of the IIMHL AND IIDL UPDATE – 15 NOVEMBER 2014

If you want further information on the IIMHL organisation go here. To sign up for their mailing list go here.

For general enquiries about these links or for other IIMHL information please contact Erin Geaney at erin@iimhl.com.

  1. The Physical Health of People with a Serious Mental Illness and/or Addiction: An evidence review
  2. Stories of Success
  3. Tihei Mauri Ora: Supporting whānau through suicidal distress
  4. New ‘wellbeing bank’ for baby boomers
  5. “There is always someone worse off…” (regarding the earthquakes in Christchurch)
  6. Debriefing following seclusion and restraint: A summary of relevant literature
  7. Families and whānau status report 2014: Towards measuring the wellbeing of families and whānau
  8. Growing Up in New Zealand: Vulnerability Report 1: Exploring the Definition of Vulnerability for Children in their First 1000 Days (July 2014)
  9. Parents or caregivers of children with a disability have a voice in New Zealand (video playlist)

Also recommended in the update are:

Effective parenting programmes: A review of the effectiveness of parenting programmes for parents of vulnerable children
(2014, April 14). Wellington: Families Commission

New Zealand practice guidelines for opioid substitution treatment
(2014, April). Wellington: Ministry of Health



The Press: Mental Health Wards Clogged with the Homeless

Olivia Carville of The Press writes on Stuff.co.nz:

“The CDHB is trying to deal with the “urgent dilemma” created by the city’s social housing shortage. At a CDHB meeting yesterday, specialist mental health services manager Toni Gutschlag said the housing shortage was causing “significant problems”. On any given night, up to 25 patients were staying in Hillmorton Hospital – when they did not need to be there – because of a lack of affordable housing options.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Engage Aotearoa is aware that acute wards of hospitals in every city are often used by those with no better place to go. We feel it highlights the need for better and more viable accommodation options for those coming out of acute care.

Info Refresher: The Disability Allowance

The Disability Allowance is a weekly payment to help people meet the costs associated with a disability or health condition (including mental-health conditions). You can find out more by following the link below. You might be surprised to find out just how many things you can get help with if you live with the effects of a health condition.


About the Disability Allowance

The Disability Allowance is a weekly payment for people of all ages who have a disability or ongoing health condition and need help with the additional costs directly associated with that condition.

It is available to people who qualify for a Community Services Card including those on a benefit or people who are working. There is an income test. An application can also be made on behalf of a child if they are aged 18 years or under and financially dependent on the person who is making the application.

To qualify for Disability Allowance the person must:

have a disability or health condition that is likely to last at least six months have regular, ongoing costs because of a disability which are not fully covered by another agency are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here meet the income and asset test.

Allowable costs covered by a Disability Allowance

Following are some examples of costs that a Disability Allowance may be paid for; noting that the cost must be directly related to the person’s disability:

Alternative treatment: must be supported by a medical practitioner as being necessary to be publically funded for the person’s condition, and the treatment provided or supervised by a health practitioner (under the HPCAA).

Ambulance fees and subscriptions: when a person is required to pay ambulance fees or subscription fees on an annual on-going basis.

Authorised consumables: can cover the ongoing additional cost of consumable items needed by a person, eg hearing aids, vet’s fees etc for guide dogs, incontinence pads (if they are not provided through Health).

Clothing: for additional clothing costs that a person has which may arise because of greater frequency of washing, wear and tear resulting from use of a prosthetic aid or wheelchair or the need to have clothes or shoes made-to-measure.

Counselling: for counselling fees if the need for counselling is directly related to the person’s disability. It is limited to 10 sessions with the opportunity for some additional sessions if clinically indicated (uncommon).

Day care for the elderly disabled: to help meet the costs of an elderly disabled person (usually aged 65 or over) to attend a day care centre, and/or the cost of transport to the centre.

Gardening, lawns and outside window cleaning: covers the costs of gardening, lawn-mowing, and outside window cleaning for the person’s own home or private residence where the person or another resident in the home is unable to do these tasks themselves.

Gym and swimming pool fees: may be paid when the exercise activities are directly related to a person’s disability and will have a therapeutic value.

Medical alarms: to cover the costs of medical alarm rental and monitoring if a medical alarm is necessary for normal daily living and without it, the person’s life or health would be put at risk, or their disability would be aggravated.

Medical fees: to cover the cost of appointments with general practitioners, specialists or hospital fees if the costs are additional and ongoing. This can also include fees for the some other health services (if a registered medical practitioner verifies the need and its relationship to the documented disability or health condition), for example occupational therapy, physiotherapy, audiology, podiatry or dental services.

Pharmaceutical charges: to cover the costs of regular and ongoing pharmaceutical charges. Note: It is generally only paid to assist with the cost of pharmaceutical products that are subsidised or partially subsidised under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act.

Power, gas and heating: for the additional electricity, gas or heating costs that a person has. It is for the costs over and above the normal power consumption of similar-sized households.

Rental equipment: for necessary rental equipment when the client has a need for the item or service but can’t receive funding through the District Health Board or another state funded agency and their life or health would be put at risk, or their disability aggravated if they could not hire the equipment.

Special foods: to cover the additional costs of special foods, ie for costs over and above the normal cost of food. Vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies and minerals can also be included when they are recommended as necessary for the management of the condition.

Telephone: for telephone costs to a person with a disability only when the ongoing cost of the telephone is directly related to the person’s disability.

Transport – disability: for additional travel costs that a person has because of their disability. These additional travel costs can be incurred when a person with a disability is carrying out everyday activities. Examples of everyday activities may include (but is not limited to) shopping, vocational services and work.

Transport – personal health: to cover the costs of regular travel to a health practitioner for supervision or treatment of the person’s disability.

2012 Monitoring Report on the Rights of People with Disabilities in NZ Released

How NZ Treats People with Disabilities

In case anyone has missed this, here is a link to the full report launched last Wednesday 24 October.

Free access to building accessibility standards

The best advice on how to make buildings accessible for disabled people is now available online for free. As the result of advocacy by the Barrier Free Trust, CCS Disability Action and DPA, eleven organisations have joined together to fund public access to New Zealand Standard 4121: Design for access and mobility: Buildings and associated facilities (NZS4121) over the next two years.

NZS4121 covers public buildings such as government offices, commercial buildings, police stations, hospitals, schools, theatres, shops, petrol stations and public toilets. It provides detailed technical guidance for design and building industry professionals on how to achieve the minimum level of accessibility in the built environment, as required under the Building Act 2004.

The Department of Building and Housing (now part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) has agreed to fund fifty percent of the cost, with the remaining fifty percent being met by:

  • Wellington City Council
  • Auckland Council
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Selwyn District Council
  • Building Officials Institute of New Zealand
  • Barrier Free New Zealand Trust
  • CCS Disability Action
  • Be. Institute
  • Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)
  • National Foundation for the Deaf (NFD)
  • Deaf Aotearoa.

This is a great achievement. It will promote greater knowledge of practical changes that can be made to improve access for all.

The Barrier Free Trust and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are planning a series of seminars to inform the disability and construction sectors on the importance of NZS4121 in the design and building process. These seminars will help to spread the news about the free availability of NZS4121.

You can access NZS4121 at: http://www.standards.co.nz/4121+access+mobility+design


Home Insulation Programmes

There are currently two Home Insulation programmes on offer to help ensure people are living in healthy homes:

Snug homes:

This completely FREE initiative is open to those who own their home or are privately renting (sorry no Housing NZ homes), and have a Community services card. The application form is quick and easy and is downloadable off their website.  You can also call them and they will send you an application with a self addressed envelope.


Retrofit your home programme:

Auckland Council provides a loan scheme for home owners, where you are able to borrow up to $5000 to insulate and heat your home, which is paid back through your rates over 9 years.


UNCRPD Monitoring Survey 2012

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability is a UN convention that aims to enshrine the rights of people with disabilities in law to ensure all people are afforded the human right to participate in their communities.

The New Zealand government has ratified the UN Convention and thus made a commitment to ensure legislation, policy and procedure to protect the rights of people with disabilities – including disability caused by the effects of a mental-health problem.

In 2011 a report to the UN was written by the government to summarise their progress towards this goal. A shadow report was also written by community groups in consultation with their stake-holders. There were some key differences in the perspectives of these two reports.

A monitoring survey has now been established to gather a wider perspective of how people living with disabilities in the community see things.

Follow the link below to fill out an anonymous survey and help the UN monitor what NZ needs to do better for people living with disability.


Feedback Sought on Auckland Respite Services for People with Disabilities

Renaissance Group is a supplier of disability support services in the greater Auckland area.

In conversations and discussions at various network meetings with parents and families, the gaps in the respite services in the greater Auckland area has stood out.

In order to identify some of these gaps more clearly, feedback is needed from disabled people and their families currently accessing respite services, or disabled people and families who feel they need respite services but are currently not receiving this.

This feedback is completely anonymous. No one needs to put their names, or identify themselves in their feedback.

They are gathering this information to look at what respite services could look like moving forward, and how they can meet your needs at a wider level.

Open and save a copy of the Renaissance Group Questionnaire for Respite Services to your computer where you can complete it at your leisure.

They would really appreciate  receiving your feedback by Monday 28th May.

Please reply with your responses to Evan Clulee either via email or alternatively you can post your questionnaire back:

  • Email: evan.c@ren2001.co.nz
  • Address: Renaissance Group, PO Box 63-001, Manukau City, Auckland 2241.

Choice in Community Living programme launched

The launch of the Choice in Community Living programme in the Auckland and Waikato regions was announced on 2 November 2011. Choice in Community Living is about supporting disabled people who want to move from residential services, where they live in a house owned or rented by their support provider, to a home of their own.

For more information, see: http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/disability-keyprojects-choicecommunityliving