Govt fund­ing doesn’t cover costs - agency

Hauraki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - TERESA RAM­SEY

A $10,000 grant is not enough to cover the cost of hous­ing govern­ment agen­cies, Whi­tianga So­cial Ser­vices says.

So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Anne Tol­ley an­nounced $10,000 in fund­ing for the non-govern­ment agency af­ter a meet­ing with Coro­man­del Penin­sula so­cial agen­cies in Thames on Septem­ber 8.

How­ever, Whi­tianga So­cial Ser­vices man­ager Jenny Wolf said while the fund­ing was ap­pre­ci­ated, it wasn’t enough.

‘‘Ten thou­sand barely cov­ers the time we have put in and still con­tinue to put in to the com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a one-off piece of fund­ing, it’s not on­go­ing. Our prob­lems in our com­mu­nity are still on­go­ing.’’

Wolf said the agency had been el­i­gi­ble since 2002 for $25,000 in fund­ing per year as a ru­ral Heart­land provider, which is an agency that has two or more govern­ment agen­cies work­ing out of their fa­cil­ity.

Whi­tianga So­cial Ser­vices ac­com­mo­dates four govern­ment agen­cies, in­clud­ing ACC, IRD, Le­gal Aid and Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions.

Many sim­i­lar Heart­land providers around New Zealand got $25,000 in govern­ment fund­ing per year but the Whi­tianga agency had re­ceived noth­ing de­spite her re­peated re­quests, she said.

Tol­ley said she had rec­om­mended to the Min­istry So­cial De­vel­op­ment (MSD) that Whi­tianga So­cial Ser­vices be con­tracted as an agent to recog­nise that they were com­plet­ing a ser­vice.

The $10,000 grant was for six months be­cause of where it fell in the con­tract cy­cle, and be­cause it was close to the gen­eral elec­tion on Septem­ber 23, she said.

Coro­man­del MP Scott Simp­son said if he were re-elected, he would be push­ing for a govern­ment con­tract for Whi­tianga So­cial Ser­vices.

‘‘This will be an on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion, it’s not a on­cer from my point of view,’’ he said.

‘‘I’d like them to have fi­nan­cial recog­ni­tion, I’d like them to have a re­la­tion­ship with MSD, WINZ, in or­der to ac­knowl­edge the work that they’re do­ing.

‘‘They are a com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion that have been do­ing enor­mously good work in Whi­tianga for years.’’

Tol­ley said the grant was to help with Work and In­come re­quests in Whi­tianga.

Work and In­come of­fices in Whi­tianga and Coro­man­del were closed af­ter se­cu­rity changes fol­low­ing the Ash­bur­ton shoot­ings in 2014, when two staff mem­bers died.

Since then, Whi­tianga res­i­dents need­ing as­sis­tance from Work and In­come have to drive 1.5 hours to Thames.

‘‘It is a more iso­lated com­mu­nity that needs to have ac­cess to some of those ser­vices and if that trust is pro­vid­ing it, then my at­ti­tude is that we should be ac­knowl­edg­ing that,’’ Tol­ley said.

‘‘They’ve been do­ing it out of the good­ness of their hearts for some time.’’

Five rep­re­sen­ta­tives from so­cial agen­cies in the re­gion at­tended the meet­ing in Thames, where Tol­ley de­tailed the re­cent over­haul of Child Youth and Fam- ily, now known as Min­istry for Vul­ner­a­ble Chil­dren.

Con­cerns from agen­cies in­clude vi­o­lent of­fend­ers be­ing bailed to ad­dresses where chil­dren lived, par­ents with sub­stance abuse is­sues, a short­age of psy­chol­o­gists trained to treat child­hood trauma, ru­ral ac­cess to ser­vices, the high cost of hous­ing and a short­age of hous­ing.

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