Not all children in Aotearoa have access to a healthy, warm home. Too often, too many of our children are going to sleep in homes that are likely to make them sick. They may be damp, cold, or overcrowded.
Without insulation in these homes, our poorest children aren't getting a fair start at life. Children are living in houses filled with viral pathogens and bacteria, and are being crippled by sickness such as rheumatic fever, skin infections and respiratory illnesses. Every night, 90,000 New Zealand children sleep in homes like this.
Inadequate housing means kiwi kids are struggling to cope with preventable illnesses instead of thriving like they should be.
The cost to the New Zealand healthcare system, as a result of kids living in unhealthy homes, is immense. Over 40,000 New Zealand children are admitted to hospital every year due to income poverty and inadequate housing, and the cost of this hospitalisation to the tax system is around $1,500 per patient, per day. When these children go back home to the same cold houses, they get sick over and over again. The cycle repeats itself.
This poor standard of New Zealand housing exists largely because of a lack of regulation around acceptable housing standards. UNICEF NZ is calling on the Government to introduce and enforce a WOF for housing and Provide subsidies to get private housing rentals up to a healthy standard
"It's time to acknowledge the urgency for families on low incomes for warm, secure, and affordable housing. It's time to involve these families in designing the solution. How much money do people have to spend on rent? What’s the reasonable expectation? What are the ways that better housing can be delivered in the very short term, and over time?"