More families are hitting hard times
More and more families are hitting hard times and budgeting and foodbank services are struggling to keep up with demand.
Vai Harris of the Vaiola Pacific Island Budgeting Service in Mangere says she is battling daily to prevent families losing their homes.
"People come to us hungry and you can't just write a letter to Work and Income asking for money," she says.
"We have to look at their financial situation but most people who come to us are already in front of the tribunal and face getting booted out of their homes. It's hard.
"Budgeting is the hardest job. Here we cover the whole field including the courts.
"When it's an eviction we have to fight the tribunal, when it's a mortgagee sale we have to fight the lawyer in order to save houses and we've only got peanuts for funding."
One of her clients, who asked not to be identified, weeps as she talks about the mounting bills.
"Most of the time we don't have money for food," the mother of four says.
"We have to borrow from here to pay there and we get behind on the mortgage."
She is too sick to work and although her husband works 40 hours on the minimum wage, she is scared they will lose their home.
In Otara the hardship is similar, budget adviser Tai Tupaa says.
She has been in the role for 13 years and often works 70 hours each week helping families to make ends meet.
"You can see it on their faces, there is a genuine need and people are struggling," she says.
"They're working and trying to live within their means but their income doesn't match their expenses which is why they come to us - they're struggling to cope."
It is a different Auckland to mayor Len Brown's "most liveable city", where both women cite the high cost of living and minimum wage as factors.
Ian Foster of South Auckland Christian Food Bank gets referrals from both women and other south budgeting services.
"Demand is high but honestly it's been like this now for the past 12 months," he says.
"Before the global financial crash it wasn't this bad. Demand went up massively.
"At the end of the day they simply haven't got enough money. They're high needs, low to no income and it's very, very sad. It's very real."
In April the adult minimum wage rose 25 cents to $13.75, giving families an extra $10 each week.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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