Support available during Covid-19 lockdown
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Posted April 01, 2020
Media Release: Hauraki District Council
If you’re experiencing hardship, don’t hesitate to call 0800 800 405. That’s the message from Hauraki District Mayor Toby Adams a week into the Covid-19 lockdown.
His advice follows the establishment of a new Freephone helpline for Waikato people struggling to get food, groceries, medicine and other household goods and services.
“You may not need it now, but as Level 4 continues, if you experience hardship, please don’t hesitate to call”, he said.
The service, set up by Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group, is available from 7am-7pm daily and compliments other government helplines and services already in place, including a Freephone or text number for people who may be feeling overwhelmed.
“If you’re feeling anxious, lonely, or a bit fearful and you just need someone to talk to, Freephone or text 1737 to get in touch with someone who can help you through those issues,” the Mayor said.
“Alternatively, you can give me a call, I’m more than happy to chat, anytime, and it won’t go any further than me.”
Council carefully considering options for rates relief
Although concerned about people experiencing financial hardship, the Council has not yet made a decision on rates relief. Mayor Adams says these are unprecedented times and it’s important to understand the bigger picture before making any big decisions,
“We want to make sure our decisions benefit everyone and help us recover in the long run, not just in the short term,” he said.
“We need to look at ways we can stimulate the local economy once this is all over. We’ll be working hard on this over the next few weeks.”
In the meantime, anyone experiencing hardship, is urged to contact the council to discuss their situation and arrange a payment plan, or a payment holiday.
“While we work out the best way forward around rates, please do not just stop paying them or cancel your direct debit. If rates are not paid then our recovery will be slower, more painful and more expensive next year”, the Mayor said.
“Also, remember there are other places that you can go to get help, including Work and Income and your bank.”
Dog attacks on the rise
Dog owners in the Hauraki District are urged to keep their dogs secure inside their properties. This follows a recent increase in dog attacks on other dogs out walking with their owners.
Non-urgent service requests may have to wait
People are asked to continue to lodge service requests as per normal, but remember that the ability of staff to maintain normal response times will be compromised during the lockdown period. This means urgent requests will be attended to, but non-urgent requests will have to wait in many cases. These are unprecedented times and staff are doing the best they can to meet the needs of the community under extraordinary circumstances.
Flying solo at the supermarket
The government’s recommendation when it comes to shopping for essential items (like groceries or prescriptions) during the lockdown is to have one person do the shopping per family.
Mayor Adams says he understands getting groceries without the kids in tow can be a challenge – especially for single parent families,
“If you have shared custody, try and do your shopping when you don’t have your kids. If you’re a single parent, maybe there’s someone else inside your bubble that can look after your children while you shop,” he said.
If there is no other option except to take kids shopping, people are asked to please make sure physical distance between their group and other people is maintained.
Access to online orders for the vulnerable
For some people, online delivery is the only way they will be able to access essential food and groceries. If someone in a household is physically able to go to the supermarket to get food (and is under 70 years old and does not have any chronic illnesses), they are asked to please do this in person, so that the online deliveries can be reserved for those who rely on it as their only way to get food.