COVID-19 helpline launched to reach the most vulnerable

Joint media release with People First New Zealand and the Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust
14 April 2020

It is a difficult time for all New Zealanders right now, however we know some people with intellectual disabilities will be finding the COVID-19 situation extremely difficult.

Many people with intellectual disabilities do not have access to the internet or smartphones and are effectively cut off from their communities. People are reporting situations such as not being able to get food, confusion around how to pay bills with reduced banking hours and the need to stay at home, having access to Easy Read information about the virus and what it means to be at Level 4, and increased loneliness.

People First New Zealand, IHC and the Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust are working together to respond to people with learning disability during COVID-19.

We are using the People First NZ 0800 (free phone) number to assist people with learning disability and their families/ whānau. While People First NZ staff will respond to calls in the first instance, the three organisations will work together to make sure all people get the help they need.

The People First NZ COVID-19 Helpline number is 0800 20 60 70 and messages will be responded to several times a day.