Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Shirley McCombe says many families are struggling. Photo / File
With just days to go until the Government's 2019 Budget, promises have already been made. There's been an extra $58 million into the forestry sector, $2.2m of provincial growth fund money for youth and young adult initiatives in Kawerau, $200m allocated to housing long-term homeless people in New Zealand and more. ThisThursday the Government will announce just how much money they'll put into each sector and for what. Social agencies tell Carmen Hall what they hope the budget will bring.
More affordable housing and a rise in benefits are some issues social agencies would like to see addressed in Thursday's budget. Meanwhile, seniors citizens are hoping extra money would be pumped into elective surgery to enhance their lifestyles.
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Shirley McCombe said the biggest problem for families was the rising rents.
''Rental prices are increasing due to high demand and affordability continues to be an issue even with Work and Income assistance.''
People were also turning to payday loans ''when they are desperate and high-interest rates are crippling.''
McCombe said more affordable houses, apartments, units and accessible homes were needed.
Educational resources, uniforms, stationery and devices were another big expense for families and could be a barrier for children attending school.
She would like to see Work and Income food cards for the supermarket, direct payment for rent and other things like power.
Merivale Community Centre manager Sophie Rapson said incomes did not match expenses for most of its families.
''The way they are making ends meet is to get food parcels or go without. We have lots of families that aren't meeting their basic food and accommodation costs.''
''If anything was to be fixed I think that would be the key area.''
Meanwhile, Tommy Wilson from Te Tuinga Whanau Social Services said he would like to see more resources put into the front line.
''I would like to see the people who are working with at-risk families and homeless families get support. By that I mean if I had a wish, it would be that there is an oasis that I can send my troops for respite.''
''When you're seeing trauma every day it wears you down and unless you have your troops healthy and happy they can't be effective.''
Tauranga Grey Power president Jennifer Custins said a lot of people aged 60 plus would benefit from elective surgery to keep them mobile and active.
More often than not it was an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff scenario.
Rest home facilities could also benefit from an increase in funding as in her view they were not receiving enough.