Con­cern at res­i­dents’ help pleas

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON

A COM­MU­NITY sup­port cen­tre has recorded an alarm­ing in­crease in Hinch­in­brook res­i­dents seek­ing help, with 170 clients vis­it­ing the fa­cil­ity last month alone.

The num­ber of res­i­dents seek­ing food, shel­ter and sup­port from Hinch­in­brook Com­mu­nity Sup­port Cen­tre has risen about 10 per cent dur­ing the past six months.

Cen­tre worker Carolyn Kemp said many new clients were ac­cess­ing the ser­vice.

“It is in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies who are strug­gling fi­nan­cially, ir­re­spec­tive of their in­come,” she said. “Fi­nan­cial is­sues ex­ac­er­bate other as­pects of a per­son’s life im­pact­ing on re­la­tion­ships, work com­mit­ments and liv­ing con­di­tions.”

The cen­tre helped 102 peo­ple in Jan­uary, with only two new clients, while of the 170 sup­ported in June, 16 were new to the cen­tre.

Other res­i­dents are seek­ing out in­di­vid­u­als for sup­port.

A Herbert River fruit and veg­etable farmer said he had re­ceived re­quests for food hand­outs this year for the first time since his busi­ness opened.

“I have up­wards of three peo­ple per month stop­ping in and ask­ing for food be­cause they can­not af­ford it,” he said.

“You tend to see it in the cities and larger places but not Ing­ham. Peo­ple just haven’t got the money or a job, so they’re just get­ting the nec­es­sary items.”

Re­gional economist Colin Dwyer said Ing­ham was sim­i­lar to other ar­eas suf­fer­ing af­ter the min­ing down­turn.

“There’s been a drop- off in the min­ing sec­tor, so once peo­ple from the Hinch­in­brook area start mov­ing back, there’s a de­mand for more jobs,” Mr Dwyer said.

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