Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

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Annamarie Angus says the Tauranga Moana Nightshelter was at capacity last month. Photo / John Borren
Annamarie Angus says the Tauranga Moana Nightshelter was at capacity last month. Photo / John Borren

A number of Bay social agencies are stretching their resources and helping more clients than they are funded for - a situation that has come hard on the heels of an extremely busy holiday period.

Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust Social Services director Tommy Wilson said it had crunched its numbers and was contracted to assist 300 clients but we "look after just under 1000 so that is an indication of how busy we are".

Tommy Wilson. Photo/file
Tommy Wilson. Photo/file

"We can't do any more than we are doing now with the resources we have got," he said.

The catch cry was always the same, Mr Wilson said and "we need help from those within our own cross agency sector".

Its social services manager Pikiteora Russell said, "we were absolutely crazy," and the main issue was the lack of housing in Tauranga.

"I have dealt with three ladies this month and their bottom line issue is there is no where for them to go."

Tauranga Women's Refuge manager Angela Warren-Clark said in December it answered 414 calls to its crisis help line for information, support and advice when it was only funded by the Ministry for Social Development for 320 calls a year.

It had 31 new adult clients in December while eight adults and 14 children were accommodated in its safe house, she said.

"Many of those 31 clients were contacted by us from information we received directly from the police regarding domestic violence calls for service. These are the women who have been assaulted or a 111 call for help has been received and the nature of the violence means there is an extreme risk for her and the children."

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Many families called seeking emergency accommodation which it could not help with, she said.

Shakti Ethnic Women's Support Group co-ordinator Sonia Pathak said it received about 20 calls during the Christmas period related to domestic violence.

It accommodated eight women and six children in its safe house, she said.

Tauranga Moana Nightshelter manager Annamarie Angus said, to coin a phrase, it had been playing "musical beds".

In November it turned away 12 men and continued at capacity through December, she said.

It turned away one person on Monday, she said, and "it hasn't evened out".

The shelter, which opened in September 2014, could accommodate 20 men aged from 17 and the oldest client it had helped was 70.

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Briun said demand was similar to last year as people sought help this month.

It had a high request for food parcels and people finally addressing their debt, she said.

"We are experiencing clients with large debts seeking assistance to deal with growing debt."

A lot of people had also taken cash loans prior to Christmas while others had gone online to more than one provider, she said.

"For some it was to take a holiday or buying gifts for the family. Now they can't afford to pay for the cash loan."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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