The Auckland Wide Healthy Homes Initiative (AWHI) was established by the Ministry of Health in 2013 to reduce household crowding for Auckland whānau with children at risk of rheumatic fever. Healthy Homes Initiatives (HHI) are one of a number of key strategies within the Government’s Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme.

There is a strong link between housing conditions, particularly household crowding, and rheumatic fever. Living in crowded housing increases the transmission rates of a range of infectious conditions, including Group A Streptococcal (GAS) throat infections (the necessary precursor to rheumatic fever). Crowding is in relation to both the size of the house compared to the number of people living in it (structural crowding), and the number of people sleeping in a room together to keep warm (functional crowding). It is hoped that reducing the impact of household crowding will contribute to reducing the number of rheumatic fever cases in Auckland as well as having wider health and wellbeing benefits.

The Auckland Wide Healthy Homes Initiative is administered by the AWHI hub. The purpose of the AWHI Hub is to connect all eligible families to community providers, assess and plan interventions for their homes, implement those interventions with suppliers, follow up and feedback on outcomes related to warm, dry and healthy homes and the families.

At the time of setup, the AWHI hub was not contracted to generate referrals, nor the supply of interventions. Recognising the gap in the supply of interventions, the Ministry of Health contracted The Southern Initiative (TSI) in October 2015 to use a more user-centred approach to generating a better supply of interventions.

TSI formed a design team of people with different skills and experience in health, housing, community and design. The team was supported by TSI partner the Auckland Co-Design Lab to use human-centred design to help reduce crowding. More info read full report

Auckland Wide Healthy Homes Initiative Co-Design Update

As you may already know, the healthy homes initiatives (HHI) have expanded from rheumatic fever to include at risk pregnant mums and children 0 – 5 years of age. AWHI now focuses on the Counties Manukau District Health Board area, while the new sister service Kainga Ora operates in the Auckland District Health Board and Waitemata District Health Board areas. Read full newsletter update here.