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Central Otago Mirror - - 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.’’

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