Stu­dents schooled on damp hous­ing

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

School­child­ren are learn­ing the im­por­tance of a warm, dry home thanks to a card­board house build­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

Or­gan­ised by Angli­can Life, the com­pe­ti­tion aims to raise aware­ness about the cold, damp and draughty hous­ing con­di­tions that ex­ist in New Zealand.

The chal­lenge was for stu­dents to con­struct a dwelling us­ing only card­board and tape.

A group of year 6 stu­dents from Good Shep­herd School in Mt Eden took to it with gusto, work­ing across three days to com­plete their twobed­room domi­cile.

A roar­ing fire in the lounge, a flat screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen grace the stu­dents’ card- board house but it shows a sad­der side.

While most of the walls are lined with nice, thick news­pa­per ‘‘in­su­la­tion’’, the bed­rooms are bare and pain-

also ted with green mould.

‘‘We did that to show why houses need in­su­la­tion and to show ex­am­ples of some well-in­su­lated rooms and some poorly, or unin­su­lated rooms,’’ Joshua Jef­fery, 11, says.

The stu­dents say that be­fore tak­ing on the chal­lenge they weren’t really aware about the poor liv­ing con­di­tions en­dured by some Kiwi fam­i­lies.

Teacher Fran Tay­lor says the chil­dren learnt a lot across the cur­ricu­lum while build­ing the house.

‘‘They learnt about mea­sur­ing and sci­ence, but also about so­cial jus­tice.

‘‘They found out about the cost of hospi­tal beds and doc­tors’ fees brought about by re­cur­ring prob­lems from damp homes.’’

Com­pe­ti­tion co-or­gan­iser Kate Day from Angli­can Life says the church re­ceived about 30 en­tries from schools na­tion­wide.

Ms Day says Angli­can Life de­cided to hold the chal­lenge to in­clude young peo­ple in the dis­cus­sion about a se­ri­ous is­sue that af­fects many New Zealan­ders.

‘‘As a church we are con­cerned with is­sues of pov- erty, par­tic­u­larly ones that af­fect chil­dren. So we thought the is­sue of low stan­dard hous­ing is one way we could ad­dress con­di­tions of poverty as a whole.’’

Around 375,000 Kiwi kids live in cold, damp ren­tal homes that can make them sick. There are sub­si­dies avail­able for land­lords to im­prove ren­tal hous­ing but not all land­lords take them up and there are no min­i­mum stan­dards for rentals.

Pho­tos of the card­board houses will be sent to Hous­ing Min­is­ter Phil Heat­ley to sup­port a call for a ‘‘War­rant of Fit­ness’’ on hous­ing.

The win­ning school will re­ceive in­su­la­tion in­stalled for free and if it is al­ready in­su­lated the school can nom­i­nate an­other school.

The win­ner will be no­ti­fied this month.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Builders: A group of year 6 stu­dents con­structed a card­board home that shows what can hap­pen in unin­su­lated rooms.

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