Last updated 18 July 2022
Ministry of Social Development
If you have to stop working because of your disability, or if you're caring for someone with a disability, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) may be able to help.
Some of the support they provide are:
- disability allowance
- accommodation supplement
- child disability allowance
Please note that we are unable to approve any application to receive MSD services, but we can talk to you about the supports they offer for disabled people and their carers.
Check out this MSD toolkit that helps you find out what supports or benefits you can get from MSD.
MSD also provide information on how to access food support. MSD clients with a payment card can ring the call centre for additional top up to be added to their card to purchase food.
Paying for housing costs
If you need help to pay rent or other accommodation costs, MSD may be able to help.
If you’ve fallen behind with your rent, and can’t come to an arrangement with your landlord, talk to MSD and they can help you stay in your current home if they can.
And if you’re moving to a new home, they may be able to help pay your bond or rent in advance, or with moving costs. You will need to pay the money back.
Remember to tell MSD if your rent or housing costs are changing or if you have a new address.
Paying for heating
If you're ill or have a disability, you can apply for help with the cost of heating your home. What you can get depends on your circumstances and also your income and assets.
Electricity bill assistance
Here's who you can contact if your struggling to pay your electricity bills.
Mercury customers: go to www.mercury.co.nz/customer-care
Genesis customers: go to www.genesisenergy.co.nz/customer-care
Trust Power: go to www.trustpower.co.nz/for-your-home/joining-trustpower/vulnerable-or-medically-dependent-customers
Water bill assistance
Water Assistance can also help provide financial support to people who find it challenging to pay their water bill.
They also provide priority assistance to people with disabilities.
Internet and phone costs
- Work and Income can help you with ongoing phone costs that are directly related to your disability or health condition.
- Skinny Jump is flexible prepaid broadband: Only $5 for 30GB of data, no contracts or credit checks and the modem comes free of charge. Just top up as you go. Skinny Jump is for those who don't have a broadband connection at home because cost is a barrier. Online form for Skinny Jump.
- Spark customers experiencing financial hardship are encouraged to call them directly and discuss their support packages.
Emergency housing and support services
The Ministry of Social Development may be able to support people to find emergency housing until they get something longer-term. Here's what you can do:
- Phone: 0800 559 009 to make an appointment or enquire at your nearest MSD service centre
- During the discussion MSD will look at other options but if these are not suitable then emergency accommodation at a motel can be arranged
- There is no cost for the first 7 nights, but if longer accommodation is needed, there is a contribution of 25% of your income (after tax).
- Emergency accommodation Special Needs grant can be paid to people on benefits and those working. They are subject to income thresholds (between $1,190 per week – single person and $2,011 – couple with children – before tax).
De Paul House provides housing and support services, focusing on families with dependent children. Their trained Social Work Support team will work closely with the family to transition from emergency housing to a stable home.
Habitat for Humanity
Check out these amazing Habitat for Humanity programmes that can help you have a healthy, warm, dry and safe home.
- Curtain bank - provides low income Auckland individuals and whānau with free curtains for their home.
- Rent to own your home - enables families to pay an affordable rent, paying down the purchase price of the home over time until they can afford a commercial loan from the bank and purchase the home from Habitat.
- Home repairs - an affordable, no-interest solution for modest income homeowners to achieve critical maintenance and repairs.
- Social rental - affordable rental options to people who are on the housing waitlist or are experiencing housing deprivation.
- Healthy home services - ongoing minor services to help address preventable health issues that can be attributed to a cold, damp living environment.
Feeling stressed, worried, scared or depressed? We've put together a list of all the free counselling services you can use when you're dealing with tricky emotions and thoughts.
Food deliveries, packed meals and food parcels
Go to this page on our website for a list of places providing food deliveries, packed meals and food parcels or download this PDF file listing food supports in Auckland.
Priority grocery service
Do you need additional help with grocery delivery? The SVA Grocery Delivery Service (in partnership with New World), enables people who can't get to the supermarket to get groceries.
You can order online or via 0800 005 902 using a debit or credit card. A screened and vetted volunteer collects the items from the supermarket and delivers them to the door. SVA then charges the pre-authorised credit card with the exact amount spent at the supermarket following delivery. There is a $6 delivery fee.
Head to www.shop.sva.org.nz to shop, call them on 0800 005 902 or email to email@example.com
If you are in need of food assistance search your region to find a foodbank in your area. You may need to bring suitable identification and proof of address.
Find a food community organisation
Communities across Aotearoa are working together to support those who don't have access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food. The Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective provides comprehensive information (interactive map) about community food organisations around the country.
Meals on wheels
Meals and Wheels is a New Zealand Red Cross services that is mostly paid for by your local District Health Board (DHB). Those who use this service will still pay a minimal amount (like $5) for a meal plus dessert.
You can receive this service if you get a referral from DHB. Please talk to your GP or specialist and enquire if this is an option for them/they can get a referral.
Affirming Works is available to assist families in the Otahuhu area with food parcels. Food parcels can be picked up from 9 Moa St, Otahuhu.
Before going please call 0800 0233476 to register details, so a food parcel can be prepared safely for you. Or send your mobile details to be called back on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kai from Sai
Sathya Sai International Organisation give out FREE vegetarian meals to anyone who walks up to their Kai from Sai food truck. Kai from Sai is ran by volunteers and was created in response to the increasing rate of homelessness in Auckland.
Their food truck visits different sites across Auckland from Monday to Friday (6pm to 7pm), Saturday and Sunday (4.45pm to 6pm).
Monday - Te Oro, Glen Innes
Tuesday - 10 High Street, Otahuhu
Wednesday - Youth Library Dawson Road, Clover Park, Otara
Thursday - Mangere Town Centre
Friday - Clendon Manurewa
Saturday - Otara Town Centre
Sunday - Ranui
Complete the wecare.kiwi form to request for a care package.
Ōtara Kai Village
This is a food charity organisation and hub for access to social services and a gathering point for the Ōtara community.
Every Tuesday unless specified otherwise on their Facebook page, local whanau can expect:
11am Free community meal
3:30pm Free Kai Parcels
Visit their website for more information.
Stuff.co.nz lockdown deliveries list
Stuff has an online directory of local businesses safely delivering food and beverage throughout lockdown.
If you have tried and can’t access support through any of the options above, contact your local Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Group.
Family services directory
A directory of service providers that can help you and your family, including food services, housing support and others.
Are you safe from family harm and violence?
- Barnardo's offer Women’s Safety Programme is for women who have been impacted by family violence and who have a protection order in place. They'll work with you to develop a safety plan, help you understand the violence in your life, and support you to make changes that will keep you safe. Call them on 0800 227 627 or email email@example.com.
- Women's Refuge free crisis line is 0800 733 843. There are many ways they can help, including a safe house if you need accommodation urgently. Their safe houses are in secret locations and you can come to them in a crisis, day or night.
- Safebubble.org.nz rounds up all the available services you can go to if you're experiencing abuse and harm.
If you’re a woman in a family violence situation, call the Women’s
Countdown Quiet Time
Countdown stores across New Zealand will offer customers a low-sensory Quiet Hour every Wednesday from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
Quiet Hour offers customers a time to shop in Countdown’s stores that is easy on the eyes and ears by reducing noise, lighting and other distractions in-store. Visit their website to find out more.