Food, rents, petrol and power bills are getting more expensive, forcing more Kiwi families to take extraordinary measures to keep a roof over their heads.
Over the June 2018 quarter, 321,244 hardship assistance grants were given out, worth $88.1 million, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Social Development. That compares to 267,374 grants which were paid out for the June 2017 quarter.
From just April to June this year, to add to struggling families' woes, petrol prices rose 3.2 per cent - rising again for Aucklanders on July 1 when the regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents per litre came into force - and food prices rose by 0.8 per cent, with fruit and vegetables rising by 3.1 per cent.
Mangere resident, Angela Douglas, who is unemployed with three kids, is left with nothing when the bills come in each week.
In fact, she's in debt more than $200 per week. She says it's been extremely tough.
"Sometimes with food the kids don't go to school on a Monday because we don't have lunches for them. So you wait till half past six on a Monday till you get paid."
Douglas says her shopping trolley doesn't contain much, mostly 99 cent packets of pasta.
"There's a lot of hotdogs, chicken when it's cheap and a $1 bread from the dairy," she says.
"We've had to suck it up some weeks and ask for food parcels which have been welcomed and great."
She says it's been a bitterly cold winter.
"Myself and my two sons had two mattresses in the lounge. It was warmer to cuddle up on the mattresses in the lounge."
Work and Income have in the past two weeks provided proper bedding for them, Douglas says.
But then there's the rodent issue.
"We have mice everywhere but we will one day get to them."
Douglas went to Mangere Budgeting Services Trust for help, and accepts it'll be some time before she gets her debts and bills in order. She is nearly $41,000 in debt to date.
She's far from alone.
Mangere Budgeting Services Trusts' chief executive officer Darryl Evans says he's seen a surge in families asking for food parcels.
Four years ago, he says, when they first started up the food bank they were dishing out 34 food parcels a week. Now, he says, it's more than 40 a day.
"We've seen families and children. This last year, we've seen a significant growth, 43 per cent increase, in the number of pensioners asking us for food parcels," Evans says.
"One lady that I spoke to recently arrived here visibly upset, crying ... She made a really valid point but it's heartbreaking. She said, 'I can decide today to turn the heater on to have some warmth in my unit or I can afford to eat but I can't afford to do both."
He says they're also seeing a rise in the number of pensioners being given eviction notices because they can't sustain their rentals longer term.
Evans says every time someone walks in the door, they go through what's priority to pay for week-to-week.
"Regrettably rent and food is five, six, seven, eight on the list," he says.
He says the other really sad thing they're seeing more of is a growing number of people coming to them applying for KiwiSaver hardship grants.
"Just in this centre on average, we're doing 35 to 40 applications a week," he says.
"Nobody is saying we want to take out $5000 to go to Fiji for a fortnight. It's 'we're trying to sustain the tenancy, we're in arrears, we don't want to be evicted. We haven't got enough money to buy the kids' school uniforms and put them in shoes. We haven't got enough to feed ourselves, there's no kai in the cupboard."
And just this week, he says a woman came in wanting to withdraw for the first time.
"She has around $45,000 in KiwiSaver, so she's never had a withdrawal ... It's got to the point where her 16-year-old daughter need to have braces, that's around $6,900 and she has to take a trip to Samoa for the unveiling of her first uncle."
He says they're pulling together her application now and are hopeful IRD will allow it.
"If you need a couple of thousand out of KiwiSaver because you're about to lose your home and your kids are going to be insecure in the knowledge about where they're going to sleep tonight, it makes perfect sense for you to take out your money, which you've saved, early to keep a roof over your kids' heads."
In a statement, an Inland Revenue spokesperson said the proportion of people making hardship withdrawals from KiwiSaver has been fairly consistent relative to the numbers of people in the scheme over the past few years.
"About 0.4 per cent to 0.6 per cent of total members making a withdrawal."
IRD rejected there being any spike as such this year.