Getting help if you’re poor a full-time job, study finds

A study by the Auckland City Mission has revealed the reasons some New Zealanders are caught in a cycle of poverty.

The City Mission followed 100 poor families for a year to find out what’s keeping them in poverty.

One of the issues is that applying for help from numerous agencies seems to be a full time job in itself.

“The amount of time and effort and often for nil result, just made just so much work moving around agencies to get their needs met,” Diane Robertson, Auckland City Mission CEO told ONE News.

Families were asked to map out all the essential services they visited in a fortnight. In one case a family had appointments with 40 organisations including health organisations, finance companies, budgeting services and ACC.

Kat’z Ruatara’s sickness benefit didn’t go through so she went to the City Mission for food.

“Walking into WINZ and they’re asking you 20 questions and all you want is a food parcel just to tie you over for the next few days till something comes through the bank,” she says.

Another city mission client, Manu, says poor people are “bouncing around like ping pong balls” among agencies.

“I’ve been watching this for years. I’m quite fortunate that I have somewhere to live and a bit of knowledge of the system, but a lot of them don’t,” Manu says.

Diane Robertson says the study revealed people had to repeat the same story over and over to agencies.

“Whether it was a story about addiction in the family, or that they’d been raped, or anyone of those stories, they were telling complete strangers time and time and time again.”

The city mission would like to see agencies and charity groups streamlined and working closer. The social welfare minister agrees. Paula Bennett says she would like to read the research and the sector is being constantly reviewed.

“I think that government, non-government, communities and obviously family themselves, we’re all in this a bit together. So there is a role for each of us to think about how we can navigate the right services at the right time for people,” she says.

Source ONE News


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