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Saturday, 20 April 2019 04:08 pm

Cold facts show work needed before everyone has Warm Fuzzies

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SUSTAINABLE TRUST: Miranda Struthers in the Sustainable Trust office in Wellington.

MANY Wellingtonians have enjoyed the Warm Fuzzies over winter, but many others are still out in the cold.

Charitable groups like the Sustainability Trust’s Warm Fuzzies team are struggling to keep up with the rising demand to insulate homes.

Wellington is one of the worst areas for poorly insulated homes.

Wellington had the highest percentage of people who said they always or often felt cold in their homes at 23.2%, according to the latest New Zealand General Social Survey released by Statistics New Zealand last month.

In comparison, the next closest was Northland and Bay of Plenty at 23% and the national average was 21.2%.

Overall Wellington’s statistics for both people who felt cold often and always, and people who sometimes felt cold, was 49.2%.

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COLD TRUTH: A graph depicting how often Wellingtonians said they felt cold in their homes.

The national average for those two numbers was 1.2 percentage points lower than Wellington’s at 48%.

Miranda Struthers, who has been part of the Warm Fuzzies team for two years, says they see about 100 homes a year, and the number is rising.

Ms Struthers says they see a lot of families trying to cope with the cold on their own.

“We do see a lot of functional overcrowding where people choose to sleep in the same room because they can’t afford to heat the whole house,” she says.

The majority of homes that Warm Fuzzies has seen in its four years of operation are rental homes.

“Ninety per cent of what we see are rental homes,” Ms Struthers says.

The survey found 62% of people living in non-owner occupied homes said they felt cold, as opposed owner occupied homes where only 41.1% said they felt cold.

Warm Fuzzies is also part of a new Ministry of Health initiative called the Well Homes programme.

The programme, which is tasked with reducing household crowding for families at risk of rheumatic fever, aims to help families who have suffered from rheumatic fever.

She says Warm Fuzzies is looking to help around 400 homes in the next two years in the programme.

Ms Struthers says 70% of the families they had seen the previous year say the intervention has made an improvement to the family health.

Warm Fuzzies also hand out simple home heating packs to families who are on the Porirua Heating Project.

These packs include door snakes, draft stoppers, white vinegar to kill mould and information booklets on ways to save money for extra heating.

“We want people to know that there is stuff that they can do to fix this,” she says.



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is a multimedia journalism student at Whitireia School of Journalism.
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