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Solutions to Child Poverty : Housing (Paper 18). Philippa Howden-Chapman 19 September 2012. Housing and health. Housing is an important driver of health People spend 75\% of time indoors, young, old & sick 90\% of time at home NZ houses old & cold have lowest energy use in OECD

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Solutions to Child Poverty:Housing (Paper 18)

Philippa Howden-Chapman

19 September 2012

Housing and health
  • Housing is an important driver of health
  • People spend 75% of time indoors, young, old & sick 90% of time at home
  • NZ houses old & cold have lowest energy use in OECD
  • Only one room usually heated
  • 70% children in poverty in rental houses
  • Crowding in cold houses increases infectious disease in children
Specific Proposals:Housing
  • Improve the quality and quantity of housing
    • Prioritise housing in the National Infrastructure Plan (Treasury + MBIE)
    • Recognisehousing provides public &private goods
Establish a Warrant of Fitness for all rental accommodation & enforce them

-- Private rental housing stock requirements extremely limited

Boarding houses and camping grounds increasingly housing of last resort including children

Insecurity of tenure -> residential mobility -> irregular primary care -> school attendance



Specific Proposals:Housing
  • Enhance the supply of social housing, currently ~ 5%
  • Register or license all social housing providers
Specific Proposals:Housing
  • Re-focus the Accommodation Supplement and Income-Related Rent subsidies as part of wider package of income & housing support
  • Target more housing support to smaller number of low-income families in greatest need
    • large families
    • families living in areas with high rents
    • families with higher needs
Crowding linked to high levels of infectious diseases in children
  • Rental houses smaller
  • Children in poverty most likely to be living in private rental accommodation (50%)
  • Families in poverty less likely to heat their houses
  • Cold, damp houses enable viruses and bacteria to survive for longer
Baker, M., Telfar-Branard, L., Kvalsvig, A., Verrall, A., Zhang, J., Keall, M., Wilson, N., Wall, T. Howden-Chapman, P. Increasing incidence and inequalities in infectious diseases in a developed country.The Lancet, 2012,
Healthy Housing Programme:

Improving social housing & linking with primary health services

  • Cohort study links tenants to hospitalisations, 2004-2008
  • After Healthy Housing Programme, acute and arranged hospitalisations fell (27%) year after
  • Fall in hospitalisations more marked (61%) for most intensive intervention

Baker et al reports available on

Specific Proposals:Housing
  • Extend subsidies for insulation and heating
Evaluation of Warm Up NZ:

Heat Smart Programme

  • 100,000 houses in first 2 years of programme
  • $320 million,nottargeted to low income
  • Quasi-experimental study, detailed anonymised matching of first 46,655 houses
  • Small but significant drop in metered energy
  • Significant health outcomes in pharmaceutical usage, length of hospitalisation, avoidable mortality for over 65s
  • Benefit/cost ratio 3.9:1

Specific Proposals:Housing
  • Enhance opportunities for home ownership for low-income families.
  • Measures should specifically address barriers for Maori and Pacific households
  • Which proposals will be effective in reducing child poverty?
  • Which proposals are less likely to be effective?
  • What are the most important proposals to reduce child poverty?
  • What needs to be done first and why?
  • What is missing from the package?