Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says that thousands of Cantabrians have received free counselling and support with their accommodation expenses since the earthquakes five years ago, and that help continues to be available for those that need it.
“We are well aware that for many people, young and old, the trauma continues especially around the anniversary and following the recent large earthquake on Valentine’s Day,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Free counselling services are available to anyone who needs them and can be accessed through GPs or the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846.
“So far, over 50,000 free counselling sessions have been provided, and funding of $13.5 million over four years in Budget 2014 for psychosocial services is ensuring that any increase in demand can be met.
“Homeowners waiting to have their properties assessed and repaired have been able to access Temporary Accommodation Assistance, with over $55 million paid out to 3,200 households since 2011. 399 households are currently receiving this support.
“Up to $330 per week is available for temporary costs such as rent, board, or motel stays for homeowners while their houses are being repaired.
“Funding of $7.7 million in Budget 2015 extended this assistance until December 2017.”
Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner says the Residential Advisory Service also remains available to provide free, impartial advice to property owners facing challenges, with more than 13,000 contacts received from individuals and families since the quake.
“Home repairs and insurance issues can be a major cause of stress for residents recovering from the quakes. That’s why it is important to have the Residential Advisory Service available to provide impartial advice to residential property owners who are facing challenges. More than 3,300 Independent Advisor appointments have been made since the quake to support families with their rebuild and insurance challenges.”
Minister Tolley says the rebuild has also been supported by the government’s 3K to Christchurch scheme, which pays jobseekers $3,000 to help relocate to the city if they have a job offer.
“To date, 1,900 people have been supported to make the move, with over half taking up employment in the construction sector.
“Cantabrians deserve our support, and we are ensuring that it continues.”