FROM THE FRONT PAGE
in our area and we need to think about that.’’
Salvation Army community ministry support worker Deidre Snodgrass, who helps run a drop-in programme at the Salvation Army, said the number of people struggling in the region would exceed 120.
‘‘There is a lot more than that number and we have a lot of people making do on pretty minimal. I have a drop-in group where I have 30 people attend. One guy said it’s one day he can save money because he can’t afford breakfast every day.’’
‘‘Imagine living on a sickness benefit, paying rent and you have to decide whether to go to the doctor and spend $40 or buy food. Some of my people that we see have about $60 left to pay for power, food and other things.’’
While there were many social services and agencies that supported people in need, those people needed to come forward.
‘‘I imagine it would be really hard for people to walk through these doors. For me, at a personal level, it is about people noticing if their neighbour might not be going out or is hungry. When you talk to someone having your ears and eyes open because I don’t think people go searching for support. They just need a little bit of help getting that support.
‘‘And we are quite good at filing things in boxes. There are people who literally sleep under the bridge and are deposited out to different campsites. Rentals are really hard to find at the moment. There is nowhere.’’
‘‘We do the best with what we have got. We do have a measure of things— breakfast cereal, fruit, baked beans and spaghetti. It should be enough to feed a family for a week. For most people, I think they realise that.’’
The Salvation Army also had a vegetable garden which for 16 weeks over summer ran a programme whereby people, for a gold coin donation, could stock up on a week’s worth of vegetables and fruit.
‘‘Last year we had 600 families or individuals through that programme. To me, that tells you the need in our community.’’
Hambleton agreed that social housing was a big problem for the area.
‘‘Prices of housing is going up in all areas.
‘‘What have we got in Alexandra that can cater for these people?’’
He raised concern at the recent sale of Housing New Zealand properties.
Figures provided to the Mirror show 21 Housing New Zealand properties were sold in the past financial year, compared with 24 for the same time the previous year.
Asset Development general manager Sean Bignell said all properties were sold to private purchasers.
‘‘From time to time we look to sell properties in areas of low demand, with funds from these sales then used to purchase homes in areas of high demand.’’