Monique Renata has applied for 11 jobs this week. They are a drop in the ocean to the number she has applied for in the last three months with no luck.
The 20-year-old has years of experience in hospitality and customer service and has applied for jobs on Seek, TradeMe and Indeed.
She lost her last job, working in a cafe, during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year.
She then went to study early childcare education before deciding to go back to fulltime work for financial reasons.
"It's been very difficult ... I've applied for many jobs, daily, but haven't had any luck.
"For every other job I've had, it was a fast [application] process and always successful," Renata said.
She has been asking her family for a top-up if she needs money for groceries.
"It's definitely put a lot of stress on me. At times I feel like I can barely survive."
This month Renata applied for the Jobseeker benefit. It's too late for her to apply for the
Covid-19 Income Relief payment - a 12-week payment to help those who lost jobs between March and the end of October.
The payment provided up to $490 per week for people who had been working 30-plus hours per week and $250 per week for people who had been working between 15 and 29 hours per week but applications for it closed last Friday
At peak demand, 574 people were receiving the payments in August in Rotorua.
As of last month, 194 people were still receiving the payments in the district.
Ministry of Social Development figures given to RNZ showed there had been about 38,000 of the grants to the end of October.
They estimate almost 23,000 people have come to the end of the Covid-19 income relief payment without finding a job.
The Ministry of Social Development's latest data also shows the number of Rotorua people aged 18 to 64 receiving Jobseeker support has risen by more than 1400 in a year, from about 3990 in October last year to 5410 in October 2020.
In a statement this week, the Salvation Army director of community ministries, Jono Bell, said the charity expected a 20 per cent increase in demand nationwide for support with Christmas food and gifts this year, largely due to Covid-19.
"Increasingly, our clients are severely stressed and anxious about how to get through the festive season, and, beyond that, what the future holds."
He said nationwide 92 per cent of clients who used the charity's financial mentoring service had incomes of less than $50,000 a year, with 22 per cent earning less than $20,000 a year.
"The pressure on our clients and their whānau to make ends meet is enormous, and Covid-19 has added more uncertainty."
Rotorua Budget Advisory Service manager Pakanui Tuhura said staff were only "just starting to see an increase in client numbers" and the increase began at the end of last month.
"I think the measures that the Government put in place around mortgages and also around the wage subsidy, have delayed the impact ... Usually what happens is people wait for the last minute before they finally admit they need help, particularly in New Zealand."
They expected to see the rise continue, particularly in the lead-up to Christmas.
"Usually what happens is we get people trying to come in and the last week before Christmas for emergency talks ... and in about late January, early February, it starts to ramp up again as people realise that they have overspent during the Christmas period. By then, of course, the school fees are hitting too, for the likes of uniforms."
He said clients were generally better with money during the lockdown months this year because they were unable to spend at places like bars and restaurants.
"They didn't have all the other distractions."
A Ministry of Social Development spokesman said some of those who received the relief payments and had not found work would not be eligible for the Jobseeker benefit if they had chosen to study or retrain, if their household income level was above the threshold, or they were superannuation recipients.
"People may be eligible for alternative support despite not being eligible for Jobseeker. We encourage anyone in need of support to contact us so we can discuss their circumstances and provide help."
Who is looking for work in the Bay of Plenty?
• About a third of Jobseekers are aged 25 to 39
• One in three have a health condition or disability
• More than half are Māori and about a third are of European descent
Source: Stats NZ data for April to June 2020