Close to Home is now online. We will be updating this site often, telling more stories and offering more helpful information about what’s happening in your communities, also tips to keep warm and save money this winter.
And the best bit? The site allows you to leave comments and suggestions to help us get it right.
We want to hear from you
Are there things you would like to read about in Close to Home or on this Close to Home website? Can you let us know if you have any story ideas or household tips that we could share with our readers.
Stories about fellow tenants that are great gardeners or do good work in your community we would love to hear about them.
If you have a tip for removing mould, you guessed it, let us know!
Gas is commonly used in homes across New Zealand for heating and cooking. While gas is instant, reliable and efficient it can be dangerous. WorkSafe are running a campaign to help Kiwi’s use gas safely.
If you smell gas indoors, don’t muck around – take action!
Also, have a look at the WorkSafe video for more tips...
Serves 4 to 6 people, takes 60 minutes to make.
Heat oven to 200°C. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, then drain and mash with the butter, milk and seasoning. Stir in the cheddar cheese.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until softened...
Try these delicious meat patties with caramelised onions. Put between burger buns or serve with salad and potatoes.
Add butter, thinly sliced onions and brown sugar to a pan and stir over low heat until caramelised – around 40 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the mince and spring onions. Add the hot sauce and a generous pinch of salt and pepper...
Check out some videos with tips about keeping your home warm and dry. The videos have been produced in English, Maori Samoan and Tongan.
Rheumatic fever is a serious but preventable illness. It starts with a sore throat known as ‘strep throat’. Most sore throats get better on their own, but if strep throat is not treated with antibiotics it can sometimes turn into rheumatic fever. The symptoms may disappear on their own, but the inflammation can cause life-threatening rheumatic heart disease.
Serves 6 people, takes 40 minutes to make.
This dish makes a little chicken go a long way and you’ll probably have everything else you need in the pantry and freezer already. It’s tasty and satisfying.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook the chicken until sealed then set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook till soft...
Unattended cooking and a clothes dryer are thought to have caused at least five fire’s across the country in the last three weeks.
In all cases the smoke alarms sounded and alerted tenants so luckily no-one was hurt.
These fires cause a lot of damage to our houses and our tenants belongings.
Todd O’Donoghue, from NZ Fire Service says many house fires are easily preventable, see below a list of tips to help you be fire wise!
With winter well and truly here there is no better time to start doing things or learn some new ways to keep your home warm and dry.
Christchurch tenant Phil Turner is rightly proud of his impressive vegetable garden and encourages other tenants to try growing their own produce.
Growing your own vegetables is healthy, fun and cheap. Housing New Zealand tenant Phil Turner can testify to that.
The Christchurch man has an impressive vegetable garden that he tends throughout the year.
Serves 6 people, takes 50 minutes to make
This is a great meal to get ready in the morning or the night before – keep it in the fridge until you’re ready, then put it in the oven when you’re ready to go.
Heat oven to 180°C.
Boil pasta in a large pot of water until just tender....
There has been an increase in cooking-related fires around the country – don’t leave your pots or frypans unattended when cooking.
If you must leave the room when cooking, TURN OFF the stove.
Keep your stove and grill clean to prevent the build up of spilled fats and burnt foods.
Curtains, tea towels, oven mitts and any flammable items should be kept well away from the cooking area.
Have a fire extinguisher and/or fire blanket correctly located in your kitchen and make sure you know how to use them.
Baking soda can help remove strong, smelly odours from household laundry even when, after repeated washing, they still linger.
White vinegar naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner.
Mix a solution of equal quantities of water and vinegar in a new, store-bought spray bottle and you have a solution that will clean most areas of your home. It is a not only a great natural cleaning product it can also be used as a disinfectant and deodoriser. Always test on a small area to check for colour-fastness first.
It is safe to use on most surfaces and has the added bonus of being incredibly cheap...
Josephine Beckham (right), pictured with her Housing New Zealand tenancy manager, Evelyn Morgan, is “stoked” by the improvements being made to make her home warm, dry and healthy.
Not many people feel happy that winter is just around the corner, but Avondale’s Josephine Beckham is all set for the colder months thanks to Housing New Zealand’s Warm and Dry programme.
You, or your family/whānau, may be able to get free flu vaccination.
It’s best to get immunised before winter so you’re protected before flu season strikes.
Even if you don’t fit into one of the groups above, you may still be able to get free vaccination from your employer, or for a fee from a doctor, nurseor some pharmacists.
A Christchurch community garden project is flourishing. Supported by Housing New Zealand, the Riccarton West Community Garden has been embraced with great pride by the community.
The project was started in October 2013 when a group of young people from the Student Army, members of the Neighbourhood Policing team and local residents came together to prepare the Peverel Street site for planting. The land had been loaned by Housing New Zealand on a year-to-year basis.
Serves 4-6 people, takes 50 minutes to make
This pasta bake makes 300 grams of beef mince into a hearty family meal. It’s easy to make and will be a favourite with all the family.
Brown the mince in a frying pan. Add the chopped onion, garlic and sliced seasonal vegetables and continue cooking until the vegetables are soft...
Like any heating option, heat pumps give the best energy savings when they’re used wisely.
Heat only the spaces that you’re actually using and shut doors and curtains to keep the heat in the room. The heat pump recirculates air, so it has to work harder if more cold air keeps coming into the room.
Don’t have the temperature higher than you need it – set it at 18° to 22° Celsius while you’re at home, and if you run it overnight turn it down to 16° Celsius.