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Funding the Care in the Community welfare response

While many people can manage isolation with help from friends and whānau, others require a variety of supports to meet their individual or whānau needs, particularly where those needs are complex.

A locally led response

Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF), or traffic light system, people with COVID-19 self-isolate in the community, with support where appropriate.

MSD is leading the co-ordination of the welfare approach, partnering with community providers, iwi and Māori, local government and other agencies such as health, housing and education.

See more about the Care in the Community welfare response

MSD’s regional teams are working locally through existing partnerships with iwi, Māori, Pacific and ethnic communities, the disability sector, community providers and leaders, councils and government agencies.

Funding is to bolster existing resources so that those involved in supporting whānau to self-isolate can access what they need to do this. This includes:

  • increasing the number of Community Connectors
  • providing targeted food support for identified foodbanks and community food organisations.

Each region has a dedicated team of experienced people available seven days a week who triage referrals received – connecting isolating individuals and whānau to appropriate local providers where needed, as well as directly assisting people where they can.

This process ensures the welfare response is tailored to local needs, and people are linked with trusted local providers in their community who can best meet their needs. This allows for relevant local agencies, councils and providers to play key roles, based on what a region or community decides will work best for them.

Funding allocation has been informed by regional plans developed in partnership with the regional commissioners and their teams.

Total funding allocated

The Government has provided funding totalling $407.9m for the Care in the Community welfare response to support individuals and whānau who contract COVID-19 and need extra support isolating under the health guidelines. The funding goes to agencies and community providers.

An initial $204.1 million was announced in November 2021. In February 2022, that was increased as part of planning for Omicron, with additional allocations for extra Community Connectors to help whānau in need, and to support community organisations and community food providers with food and non-food essentials. There are now 500 Community Connectors who support the welfare needs of individuals and whānau to ensure that they can safely isolate, including connecting them to services available during and in transition from self-isolation.

Where the funding is being spent

Allocation includes:

  • $8.3m to establish and resource a co-ordinated assessment and referral function to integrate with the health responses in regions to provide locally delivered critical health and welfare needs to households that are self-isolating.
  • $18.1m to resource existing cross-sector regional leadership groups, including support for iwi to partner and participate and for Regional Public Service Commissioners to support alignment and co-ordination in the implementation of the CPF.
  • $162.4m for critical food support including food parcels and ready-to-eat meals. This includes $15m for MSD’s Food Secure Communities programme.
  • $178.6m for Community Connectors who support households with critical welfare needs. There are 500 Community Connectors contracted through to June 2023, which is an expansion of the Community Connection service to reach more communities. This includes $5m to support households with broader COVID-related issues.
  • $12.6m for provider capability funding.
  • $5 million to support the wellbeing of disabled communities as part of the Care in the Community transition.
  • $2 million for personal protective equipment (PPE) for at-risk communities and for providers delivering services as part of the ongoing Care in the Community response

For detail about how funding has been allocated, please see Funding allocation.

Dedicated COVID-19 welfare helpline

We're running a dedicated 0800 COVID-19 welfare support helpline to ensure people get help for urgent needs.

The helpline is open 8am-5pm Monday to Friday, 8am-1pm weekends and Public Holidays.

COVID-19 welfare support helpline: 0800 512 337

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