Financial support for more displaced homeowners
The Government will extend financial support to more displaced homeowners affected by the severe weather events in late 2022 and early 2023, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.
The extension will focus on people who are in genuine need and are not currently receiving Temporary Accommodation Assistance from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).
Currently, the eligibility criteria for Temporary Accommodation Assistance is narrow and targets a small, specific group of homeowners facing two sets of unavoidable accommodation costs.
The ‘severe weather events’ include:
- Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman flooding (August 2022)
- Auckland flooding (January/February 2023)
- Cyclone Gabrielle (February 2023).
“There is funding set aside to help homeowners impacted by these weather events and we want to make sure that gets to those who are facing significant hardship.
“Some people have been declined for this financial support because of circumstances beyond their control.”
Examples could include homes that have not been red or yellow stickered, but councils have acknowledged they aren’t safe to live in, or people who could not get insurance cover for their house due to damage caused by earlier weather events.
“I’ve asked MSD to look at those who have been declined Temporary Accommodation Assistance in the past and see what changes would need to be made to allow more discretion for granting payments in cases of exceptional circumstances.”
Greater discretion for complex home ownership structures (e.g. ownership of properties by a trust) are being investigated, but will take longer to address.
Details of the changes are still being worked through. Further information will be available on the Work and Income website in February 2024.