Citizens Advice Bureau calls for assistance
Vulnerable people may face even tougher times in Avondale if the Citizens Advice Bureau can't find extra volunteers and a more suitable home.
While demand for the free information and support service is high there aren't enough helping hands to keep up.
Avondale CAB team leader Pam Morris is one of just seven volunteers which means the service can only open for 13.5 hours a week in the Avondale Community Centre.
The facility needs at least 25 volunteers to operate fulltime, she says.
"I really hope we can get this place going again but we need help. The community needs us and we need them. It's going to take some time to build it back up to the point where we can open every day. At the moment we only open from 9.30am to 1pm from Monday to Wednesday," she says.
Waitakere CAB chairman Jim Sinclair says the area's most vulnerable people will suffer if problems can't be solved.
"Our current offices have no waiting room. This is a very deprived area and there's a high level of unemployment and poverty here. We hand out a lot of food parcels and give budgeting advice as well as offering legal advice and JP services and this really helps the people of the community," he says.
"We are currently looking at our options but there's a real shortage of properties in Avondale that are suitable for us. The one we are in is not very private and our clients don't feel confident to talk here.
"This is the reason we are losing volunteers left and right."
Waitakere Community Outreach organiser Victor Davies says the demand for food parcels has doubled over the last two years.
"We get a lot of referrals from CAB and it would be a great shame for the Avondale community to lose this service. We give out about 50 parcels a week and even just the reduced opening hours of CAB has made life more difficult for us," he says.
Whau Local Board deputy chairman Duncan MacDonald says the bureau can't live up to its potential due to the unsuitable facilities.
"The board is completely behind them but with the lack of available properties in the area they will just have to keep on searching and keep operating as best they can," he says.
"They are a vital part of the community. It seems to be that when times are tough people turn to CAB but they have now been overrun with people needing help and they can't keep up."
Mr Sinclair says the organisation can afford to rent a different property, but it just can't find one.
Call CAB Avondale on 828 7121 for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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