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Source: Auckland Council

As the region moves towards recovery, Auckland Emergency Management is scaling back its response to COVID-19, but there will still be support in place for those who need it.

The move involves switching off the dedicated welfare helpline and ceasing operations at the Spark Arena welfare distribution centre from Friday 12 June 2020.

Since being established in March, the helpline has received almost 35,000 calls, which resulted in over 17,800 requests for assistance, the delivery of around 56,000 boxes of food and support to more than 16,400 households across the region.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff thanked everyone involved in the emergency response to COVID-19.

“The last few months have been truly unprecedented, and I am really proud of the way our city has stepped up to help those in need,” he said.

“During this time, AEM has delivered over 56,000 food boxes to people affected around the region. It has been a huge effort not only by emergency management staff but also a number of community groups, and for that I want to say thank you.

“We might be out of the response phase, but the recovery from this is far from over. I am confident that together we can recover as a stronger city and continue to build Auckland’s resilience,” Phil Goff said.

Auckland Emergency Management Group Controller Kate Crawford says, “As Aotearoa has moved down the alert levels, the demand for our welfare services has reduced and the time has now come to scale back our response.

“From Friday 12 June, our dedicated welfare assistance line will no longer be operational, and the Spark Arena distribution centre will close.

“In line with the rest of the country, we are now looking ahead to recovery but that doesn’t mean there won’t be support for those who need it. Our welfare team will still be available via the council’s customer services number, and they will direct individuals or community groups to the resources or help they need.”

At the beginning of Alert Level 4, AEM’s welfare assistance line was set up to take calls from Aucklanders who were facing financial hardship due to the lockdown. As well as logging requests for welfare parcels, Auckland Council’s call centre team also referred those with more specific issues to the right agencies or providers.

Where you can get support

If you are in Auckland and require ongoing support due to COVID-19, you can phone Auckland Emergency Management on 09 301 0101 and one of the team will call you back to discuss your needs

For financial assistance, visit the COVID-19 Financial Support website or contact Work and Income online or on 0800 559 009, 7am-6pm Monday to Friday or 8am-1pm on Saturday.

If you’re calling because you have been temporarily displaced from your home due to COVID-19 and need support to find short term temporary accommodation, you can call MBIE’s Temporary Accommodation Service on 0508 754 163 to register.

For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737  for free to talk with a trained counsellor.