Grant can warm 1000 more homes

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About 1000 low-income Otago homes are set to become better insulated after a $700,000 grant from the Otago Community Trust. The funding, distributed through EECA’s Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes Rental programme, would mean about 1000 tenanted properties around Otago would be eligible for subsidised insulation, OCT chief executive Barbara Bridger said. Cosy Homes Trust project manager Jordana Whyte said the programme, which subsidises ceiling and underfloor insulation, was funded by the Government, the Otago Community Trust, the Dunedin City Council and Cosy Homes. She said Cosy Homes was ‘‘really pleased’’ the OCT had ‘‘carried forward their commitment to the insulation initiative’’ as the major thirdparty funder. Landlords could apply for the scheme if their rental property was built before 2000 and was tenanted by a community services card-holder, Mrs Bridger said. The programme would fund 50% of the costs while the landlord paid the other 50%, with no cost to the tenant. Ms Whyte encouraged both homeowners and landlords to look at insulation and heating over summer, as it allowed time for businesses to quote and install the insulation before the weather got cold again. Homeowners could apply to the Dunedin City Council’s ‘‘Warm Dunedin’’ scheme, which subsidises insulation and heating costs by adding them on to people’s rates bill. Ms Whyte said applications for the scheme rose 41% in 2015-16 on the year before, a figure attributed at least partially to the trust’s active promotion of it. The trust had achieved plenty since starting in February, hosting a course for social agency field workers about insulation, talking to Dunedin groups and offering advice for homeowners and renters. Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act earlier this year meant rental properties would legally need to be better insulated by July 2019, she said. There were 3790 Otago homes insulated through The Warm Up New Zealand scheme by the end of September this year. – Interested tenants or landlords can contact Cosy Homes for a referral or with any questions about the scheme.