It’s been a while since our last newsletter, but don’t take our silence to mean we’ve been sitting on our backsides staring at the wall. No, these past few weeks have been hectic, thanks in large part to the launch and subsequent popularity of the In The Know Hub down at Eastgate Mall. We’ve also facilitated some successful Breakthrough meetings which have reminded us of what we already knew – open and honest communication, a truly listening ear, and common sense thinking are usually all that’s needed to enable a homeowner to move forward positively.
So it’s been busy but it’s also been a time for focus and reflection on how well people are coping in 2015. The All Right? team have produced some sobering data regarding people with unresolved claims (see it in this newsletter), disaster expert Dr Rob Gordon is back next week to help us all understand why we feel like we feel, and one of our own staff recently hit the exhaustion wall and has had to take time off to recalibrate.
Our thoughts for this week?
- Be kind – to yourself and others
- Get help – for yourself or others
- Intentionally look for things to lift to spirits – big, small – look for them all
Take care people
Hubbub at the hub
If you have some queries or just want to talk to someone about where you are at with all things earthquake come to Eastgate Mall and have a look.
The hub has had more than 630 residents through its doors (about 50 people per day) during its first three weeks. We reckon that’s pretty great, so thanks to everyone who took the time to come down and share your situation with one of our community hosts.
For some residents, straight forward information or advice is all that’s needed, however many others’ issues are varied and complex. These often require the attention of more than one support service or agency.
The most common issues are:
- Repair strategies
- Scope of works
- Cash settlement
- Increased Flooding Vulnerability (IFV)
Face to face
About 30 people every day are referred to a support service or agency at the hub. This is good because it means people are stopping and explaining their issues to the community hosts and then being referred to the service that can help them best – that might be, for example, RAS for legal and technical advice, an earthquake support coordinator, or one of EQC’s community contact team. Those services and more have at least one staff member at the hub at all times, which means residents will often come in, speak to a community host, and go straight into a meeting with the appropriate support service or agency. The benefits of face to face discussion shouldn’t be underestimated.
These services/agencies are at the hub daily:
- Earthquake Support Coordinator Service
- Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service
- Residential Advisory Service
- CCC consenting staff
- Community hosts
Cash Settlements and Increased Flooding Vulnerability have been the topics covered so far. The seminars have been well attended, particularly the first on cash settlements. The helpful thing about that seminar was having an IAG spokesperson and an independent lawyer give their own perspectives. Residents left with a well rounded picture of the issue. The hope is that they felt like they had choices (e.g. that they could negotiate with their insurer) and options available to them going forward.
So far feedback has been positive and people seem to leave the hub less anxious. The proof will be in the pudding when hub staff follow up with residents to see whether the advice, support, or information provided has actually helped them make progress. These follow up phone calls are generally made a couple of weeks after the initial contact in the hub. The seminars have also been received well and residents seemed glad of the chance to be able to ask their own questions of the experts following the main presentation.
Come and have a chat
We need more people to make the most the hub. If you’re sick of your lack of progress or have given up altogether, don’t ignore this resource. Please come and speak to one of the community hosts – they don’t have an allegiance to anyone other than you, the resident.
Cash settlement seminar video
Last week In the Know Hub hosted the seminar ‘Cash Settlements: understanding your cash settlement offer’. The seminar was well presented by Renee Walker from IAG and Duncan Webb from Lane Neave.
The standout take away message from the seminar for us: cash settlements are a negotiation. The offer you receive from the insurer is a first step and the basis for discussion which continues until you both agree. Get a cuppa and watch the presentation for some really good factual information about cash settlements.
The question and answer session was also recorded but we have had some formatting issues so hope to share that with you by next week along with the recorded Increased Flooding Vulnerability seminar.
Don’t forget, this was just the first seminar on the topic of cash settlements. We hope to bring further seminars which will explore how to negotiate a cash settlement, and what to do once you’ve signed.
Just a reminder about In the Know Hub seminars in general:
Seminars on residential repair and rebuild related topics will be held at the Hub each Thursday at 1pm-2pm and at 6pm-7pm – beginning Thursday 30 April 2015. These will be presented by topic experts with an opportunity for you to ask questions.
Walk-ins are welcome where space allows but because space is limited we encourage you to book a seat in advance by calling 0800 777 482. Check this website regularly as the list of seminar topics and presenters will be updated as new seminars are confirmed.
The seminars will be filmed and available on this website as soon as possible after each seminar takes place./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Unsettled claims: stats from All Right?
Measuring progress according to human cost can be a sobering measurement. As the All Right? research shows below, dealing with all the pressures of an unresolved claim can be taxing on individuals and families and some of our people are doing it really hard.
This isn’t unexpected and it isn’t particular to the Canterbury earthquake recovery. Disasters make some people vulnerable than others and as a city we are doing not too badly on the people front. That said, those that are still living very impacted lives as a result of the quakes and recovery often don’t have the ability to enjoy some of the more positive aspects of recovery. A broken home, relationship, body or a broken mind can be all consuming and often we need help we don’t know we need.
Some people saw the figures below and were surprised they weren’t higher because it seems that everyone with an unresolved claim must be feeling the pinch now. Everyone is different and some people are unresolved and ok with that. Some comments railed a bit about the lack of priority and that is a fair comment from the sidelines. I know it’s a priority with many, many organisations and agencies but that doesn’t mean the process of resolving claims and dealing with building and repairing and temporary accommodation and stressed kids and the myriad of other issues that fill the days has been without stress.
What we do want you to know though is that there is a lot of help available – it’s often free, expert, empathetic and successful. Don’t carry the weight of recovery alone and if you really feel like you are falling apart, as All Right? recommends below, call the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846 and they will be able to connect you with support.
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Give feedback on the red zone recovery plan
We have yet to read the Preliminary Draft of the Residential Red Zone Offer Recovery Plan so can’t talk to the specifics. What we do know is that no further decisions will be made about any aspect of the Residential Red Zone without recovery plans so this is an important piece of work beyond the dollars. If you are keen to provide some constructive feedback, take the time to read through the plan. If you have any questions, please email them through to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can do about getting some answers for clarity.
Points to note from the media release – 5 May 2015
- The public is being invited to have a say on a Preliminary Draft of the Residential Red Zone Offer Recovery Plan addressing Crown offers to buy vacant, uninsured and commercial/industrial properties in the Residential Red Zone.
- The Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has been directed by the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery to prepare the Recovery Plan for these offer categories following the recent judgment by the Supreme Court on the challenge by the Quake Outcasts group. The Court directed that the decision-making on the Crown offer to buy properties in these categories should be revisited and that a Recovery Plan was an appropriate approach.
- Owners of properties in these categories in the Port Hills red zones have not yet received an offer. An offer will be made to them on the basis of the outcome of the Recovery Plan but will not be less than the offer already made to those in the flat land red zones. Consideration will also need to be given to those who did not accept the September 2012 offer and those who had a reduced offer as a result of significant underinsurance. Any property owner who accepted the September 2012 offer will be offered a top up if there is a larger revised offer.
- The Preliminary Draft of the Residential Red Zone Offer Recovery Plan can be viewed online at www.cera.govt.nz/redzoneoffer or in hard copy at the offices of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and at Christchurch City Council and Waimakariri District Council service centres from later today.
Comment can be made:
- on the CERA website
- by emailing email@example.com
- on CERA’s Facebook page
- on Twitter @ceragovtnz using #redzoneoffer
- or by mailing Preliminary Draft Residential Red Zone Offer Recovery Plan, Freepost CERA, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Private Bag 4999, Christchurch 8140.
Comment must be received by 5pm on 19 May.
This public comment will feed into the development of the Draft Recovery Plan, which will also be released for public comment from 26 May. Following analysis of this second round of comment, it is expected the Recovery Plan will be finalised and decisions made on the Crown offer by the middle of this year.
MBIE releases guidelines for TC3 land remediation
This post is for those who love to know all the technical details and developments. For most of us, it doesn’t mean too much because:
a)someone else designs our foundations and
b) EQC have yet to finalise an Increased Liquefaction Vulnerability policy which means we have no idea if there is any likelihood that people will be settled with enough money to even think about ground improvements versus stronger foundations and
c) these documents are written for those with some expertise and context.
Canterbury technical guidance updated
MEDIA RELEASE – 29 April 2015
MBIE has released updated guidance on site ground improvement (section 15.3 of the technical guidance ‘Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes, December 2012’).
There are now more options for repairing and rebuilding structures on some TC3 land. The update is based on research data collected from recent extensive ground improvement trials and follows thorough peer review by international experts.
These new options have been added to the Site ground improvement (section 15.3) of the guidance. They will provide more choice so that a simpler and more affordable option can be constructed, while still providing an appropriate level of protection for houses and compliance with the Building Code. The updated guidance can be found at the following links:
It’s time to apply for community grant funding
In case you’re wondering when you can apply for community grant funding from the Christchurch City Council, here’s some news.
The Strengthening Communities Fund has opened for applications (20 April 2015) and closes on 2 June 2015.
Despite the late commencement of the application period, the council is working to the same timeframe as in the past. Funds will still be available to successful applicants from September 2015.
This year, all funding applications will be considered from the one Strengthening Communities Fund. This includes funding applications that formerly would have been made to the Small Grants Fund (applications of $5,000 and under). The criteria for consideration of all applications is available here.
The Discretionary Response Fund will open for applications on 1st July 2015. The criteria for this fund are here.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 941 5488./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>