COVID-19: Housing and related service providers
Housing and service providers are an Essential Service during New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert Level 4. They are playing a critical role in supporting some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable individuals and whānau to stay housed.
It is a priority for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 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, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) confirms that 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 Alert Level 4. You can find detailed information about essential and non-essential businesses on the government COVID-19 web site.
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 provider 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. Although service centres will be closed, your clients can get help over the phone or online. If you can, please also 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 will receive a letter of proof that they are providing an Essential Service and you are able to show this letter to authorities as needed during Alert Level 4. 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 Alert Level 4, 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 reinterested status of CHPs
CHPs will not lose their registered status as a result of disruptions beyond your control caused by COVID-19 or if you 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 do the same regarding tenant welfare.
If you are not sure who the best contact is in the Authority, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Like many, CHRA is working from home, and they will do their best to respond promptly.
Published: March 27, 2020