A new study indicates that one in four New Zealanders struggle at least once a month to make ends meet.
Inflation hit 7.3% in the June quarter, the biggest increase since 1990.
What people need and who seeks help is changing.
There is an increase in the demand for food parcel services. There was an “influx” of working class people looking for help to supplement their budget. People are afraid of losing their homes.
The new study, by non-profit Orange Sky and led by YouGov, provided grim statistics. She surveyed 1,001 people over the age of 18 between June 21 and June 27, 2022. She found in the 12 months prior to the survey:
Sixty-two percent have struggled financially to make ends meet at least once. Twenty-seven percent wrestle at least once a month.
Sixteen percent struggle to make ends meet at least once a week.
Fourteen percent couldn’t pay rent or bills and borrowed money or took out a loan.
Twelve percent missed a meal due to lack of money.
Four percent slept rough. Seven percent have couchsurfed with friends.
Forty-four percent had to change their living arrangements due to the rising cost of living.
Forty-four percent missed social opportunities due to financial difficulties.
Fifty-four percent reported increased nervousness about their financial security.
Fifteen percent had experienced homelessness.
The survey used the Stats NZ definition of ‘homelessness’. This includes living in transient or overcrowded housing, on a friend’s couch, or living on the streets for a period of time.
Why and what to do
Inflation is largely driven by rising rents and construction costs for new homes and commercial buildings, the study notes.
Gasoline prices have risen 32% in the year to the June quarter of 2022, the largest annual increase since the June quarter of 1985.
The 2022 government budget sought ways to mitigate inflationary effects.
People earning less than $70,000 in the past year will get $350 over three months to help them. Petrol taxes will continue to be reduced by 25c per liter until early February 2023.
A charity says many workers cannot feed their families. Currently, 130 to 150 food parcels are distributed every day, compared to 70 to 80 per day last year.
” Everything is free. We do food parcels, ready meals if someone comes in and they’re hungry. About 50-60 people enter the store every day.
Between rent, water rates, electricity, internet and the increase in the price of gasoline to go to work “…it absolutely kills people.
“For them to go to work, something has to give way and unfortunately it’s the kai that (they) give up.”
The association currently distributes around 10 blankets a day to families who are cold or who cannot afford to pay for heating.
Orange Sky offers a free mobile laundry and shower service for homeless people.
A non-judgmental, attentive ear is a necessary and effective part of the service, in addition to clean clothes, showers and blankets, says Orange Sky.
The Sudsy Challenge
Orange Sky’s sudy challenge 2022 challenges everyone to wear the same clothes for three consecutive days. The goal is to spark meaningful conversations and reduce the stigma of homelessness:
News category: New Zealand.
Soaring inflation means many of us can’t make ends meet
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