The Government will pay homeowners displaced by North Island severe weather events an interim support payment to help them when insurance payments for temporary accommodation run out, says.
The weekly payments will be available for eligible applicants from September 4 and will be set at 100% of the average rent declared by Accommodation Supplements recipients in the homeowner’s region.
“We recognise the need to provide certainty to residents who are unable to return to their homes. This payment will help bridge the gap until repairs are undertaken or a decision is made on the future of their property,” Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni says.
“The Government has prioritised setting up this payment now, as payments from insurers for temporary accommodation start to run out and the future for some people’s homes remain uncertain.
“If a longer-term solution is needed there is work underway on what that might look like. In the meantime, the interim payment will give displaced homeowners the certainty and confidence they need to plan ahead,” she said.
Applicants can receive a lump-sum payment covering them from as early as June 1. The interim payment will be known as North Island Weather Events – Temporary Accommodation Assistance (NIWE TAA). The Ministry of Social Development can be contacted from August 21 to book an appointment. Payments are not taxable and will not affect Working for Families and most other social assistance entitlements.
As of 13 June 2023, 3,884 properties in New Zealand have been assigned a red or yellow placard due to the North Island Weather Events (NIWE).
Some displaced homeowners have moved into temporary accommodation in the private rental market and have been relying on insurance payments to cover these costs while they also continue to pay costs associated with home ownership.
The locality recovery plans for NCC and HDC shed some light on the scale of the problem in Hawke’s Bay after Cyclone Gabrielle.
In the Napier area, there were 22 people (comprising about six families and four singles) staying in 10 units at Kennedy Park after their homes were flooded, and 92 households in Waiohiki were displaced. The number of displaced persons staying with friends and whānau was unknown.
In Hastings District more than 1,400 families were displaced from their homes.
Who is eligible?
New Zealand residents or citizens, or people recognised as a refugee or a protected person in New Zealand under the Immigration Act 2009, and are ordinarily a resident in New Zealand, who:
- are displaced from their home, which has received a red or yellow placard as a result of NIWE and continue to have costs associated with their damaged home (e.g., mortgage, rates, insurance etc)
- have a tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the RTA) before 19 July
- have previously been receiving payment for temporary accommodation from their insurer but are no longer receiving this payment
- are not currently in TAS supplied accommodation, but are registered
- are not receiving another government payment for their temporary accommodation costs in the same property (such as the Accommodation Supplement or the Student Allowance Accommodation Benefit).
What is not covered?
Costs of commercial accommodation (such as motels and hotels), as the NIWE TAA is intended for people currently living in private rental accommodation with a tenancy under the RTA.
Homeowners who are currently receiving payment for temporary support from their insurer. Where the affected homeowner received an upfront lump sum from their insurer for temporary accommodation costs, they will not be eligible for NIWE TAA until their cover runs out.
Homeowners receiving the Accommodation Supplement or the Student Allowance Accommodation Benefit in respect of the costs of their temporary accommodation. This will ensure the payment is targeted to people who are not being otherwise supported to pay for temporary private rental accommodation.
Photo: Florence Charvin
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