New regional MSD COVID-19 welfare teams to coordinate social service support for those isolating at home
Regional teams working alongside other government agencies, iwi/Māori and community providers for housing, food and income support
Government investment of $204.1m into welfare system support for Care in the Community
Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni has announced $204.1m will be made available to support individuals and whānau who contract COVID-19 and need to isolate at home.
“As we enter a new phase in our response to COVID-19 which will see more people isolating at home, we are changing our strategy to ensure everyone gets the support they need in order to isolate and recover safely,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
“Supporting the welfare needs of individuals and whānau is central to how we will manage COVID-19 in the community from now on.
“Each region in New Zealand has different community supports and groups available to them, therefore the Government is providing $204.1m for region-specific, locally-led responses.
“Whether you are in Westport or West Auckland we want to ensure welfare support such as food, financial assistance, and connection to the right services is available for you and your whānau.
“For those who need to isolate, we’re making the process as simple as possible. When you have a COVID test you will be provided with information on how to proactively access welfare support if you need it.
“If you receive a positive test, you will be contacted by someone who will assess your needs. If you need welfare support, then MSD will act as the coordination point for local partners, providers and community groups to deliver the support you require.
“MSD’s regions will work with partners, including iwi/Māori and local providers to deliver this support and provide funding where it is needed. They will also work with Health, HUD, Kāinga Ora and MBIE to find suitable alternative accommodation if someone who has tested positive and can’t isolate at home.
“A dedicated 0800 COVID-19 welfare support helpline will also be available to support those in isolation throughout their recovery.
“During the response to Delta, the Government provided $38.15m in funding for food support and community connection services to help whānau access the immediate support they need. We have seen some excellent work being carried out by our community providers, particularly by Māori and Pacific focused organisations in Auckland.
“As we move to the traffic light system and ease restrictions across New Zealand, we know that we will need to take a locally-led approach specific to each region and community. This funding will support this approach by empowering our local partners and organisations to deliver welfare support.
“Our high rates of vaccination mean New Zealanders are in a strong position as we move to ease restrictions and open back up. But we also know there are many for whom getting COVID-19 will not only be dangerous for their health but also challenging for their situation. This package is about making life as easy as possible as people recover.
“We will continue to monitor the needs of the community and respond if more support is required,” says Carmel Sepuloni.