COVID-19: Housing and related service providers

Housing and related service providers are an essential service during New Zealand’s COVID-19 response and recovery. They play a critical role in supporting some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable individuals and whānau to stay housed.

It is a priority for us to continue supporting housing and related service providers and their staff to provide their services.  

Housing and related service providers are essential services

As organisations supporting people and whānau with a place to live, your organisation’s work and people are essential services and workers.

This includes your workers and entities in your supply chain. Housing and related service providers need to continue to operate during COVID-19. You can find detailed information about essential and non-essential businesses on the government COVID-19 website. 

Please contact HUD if COVID-19 or its impacts are affecting your team’s ability to deliver services or changing the needs of the people you work with. You can contact us by email at  ProviderEnquiries@hud.govt.nz

Keeping providers' staff safe

HUD will support you to operate and to keep your staff safe. The Ministry of Health’s website is the key place to go for information about precautions to take for your people and the people you support. There is also a central portal for all information on COVID-19.  

Healthline has a dedicated COVID-19 number for the public to access – 0800 358 5453. It’s free to call and available 24/7.  

Tenant housing and financial support

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is operating as a critical service to ensure clients and tenants have housing and financial support. Some clients can get help over the phone or online.  If you can, please continue to work with your regional MSD housing contacts to refer and place people into housing.

Letter of proof for providers' staff

Housing and related service provider staff and supply chain workers can receive a letter of proof from HUD that they are providing an Essential Service. You can show this letter to authorities as needed during COVID-19. To enquire about the Letter of proof please email ProviderEnquiries@hud.govt.nz.

Payment of services to housing and related service providers

HUD systems and processes are in place to ensure we can continue to fund and pay your invoices on time. Our current funding commitments remain in place and we will show flexibility with your contractual obligations. We are committed to supporting housing and related service providers to continue to deliver services and support your communities.  

Contracted funding for Income Related Rent Subsidy invoices will continue to be paid uninterrupted.

Community Housing Regulatory Authority

During the COVID-19 response and recovery, the Community Housing Regulatory Authority (CHRA) is taking a flexible approach to monitoring of registered Community Housing Providers.

This may involve extending timeframes for annual monitoring returns and any additional information to be provided to CHRA and deferring work on certain issues to allow CHPs to focus on the provision of housing services to tenants.  

Regulation and interested status of CHPs

CHPs will not lose their registered status as a result of disruptions beyond your control caused by COVID-19 or if provide support to tenants that would not usually fall within the bounds of being a landlord.  CHRA will be taking a pragmatic approach to regulation and expect CHPs to do the same regarding tenant welfare. 

Contact CHRA

If you are not sure who the best contact is in the Authority, please email chra@hud.govt.nz or visit Community Housing Regulatory Authority's website. CHRA will do their best to respond promptly.

Operating at Alert level 2

All organisations providing social services can operate under Alert level 2 providing they undertake the health measures outlined by the Government to keep their workers and the individuals and whānau they support safe. 

Here is more information about operating at level 2. 

Operating at Alert level 3

Organisations providing social services can operate, to some extent, under Alert Level 3 provided they undertake the health measures outlined by the government to keep their workers and the individuals and whānau they support safe. 

Here is more information about operating under Alert level 3.  

Operating at Alert level 4

Essential social services at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 are those that meet one or more of the following four criteria.

  1. Where the social service is the only way for people accessing food and other goods they need to
    survive (e.g., money management (but not budget advice), food banks, and other delivery of
    essential goods).
  2. A social service that provides and supports a place for someone to live (e.g., Supported
    Accommodation, Housing First, Public Housing, Residences, Bail Hostels, Night Shelters, Family
    Homes, remand homes, foster carers of children in state care, resettlement services for recent
    migrants and refugees).
  3. A social service that supports disabled people to maintain critical wellbeing (e.g., disability
    services for those with high needs or very high needs and excluding disability employment
    services).
  4. Crisis support for people who are unsafe (e.g., Funded helplines, refuges and family violence
    services, foster care support services, sexual violence crisis services).

Here is more information about operating under alert level 4. 

Published: March 1, 2021

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