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Community groups are responding to increased needs

New Vulnerability Report shows community groups are responding to increased needs

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) has released the first of an ongoing series of reports that focus on the economic and social hardship faced by many New Zealanders. The reports are a mix of government data and feedback from community based organisations – both NZCCSS member agencies and others.

“When an economic recession hits, the social consequences are real. Communities, families and people of all ages are affected. People who may have already been vulnerable to poverty and hardship become even more so. New people join not just the ranks of the unemployed, but become more vulnerable to other social consequences that have an impact on their well-being,” says Karen Morrison-Hume, NZCCSS Executive Member. “The first Vulnerability Report includes examples of how community organisations are responding. Feedback from a number of food banks and providers of emergency meals illustrate there is unprecedented levels of demand”.

“We have accessed the latest data from government agencies on the growing numbers of benefit dependent adults and children. Information that we requested from MSD via the Official Information Act shows that in March 2009 about 211,000 children were living in benefit dependent households”, says Trevor McGlinchey. “The escalating cost of food and energy has had major financial impacts on ordinary New Zealanders. The extra strain of these impacts on families has resulted in increased demand for a wide range of social services including family counselling, budgeting and crisis support”.

“NZCCSS member agencies and other social service and community groups are responding by increasing the level of services they offer”, said Karen Morrison-Hume. “The strain is starting to tell as these groups can only do so much with their resources. We hope that the Community Response Fund will help make a difference and we will carefully watch how this fund is managed”.

Through the regular release of these Vulnerability Reports NZCCSS wants to highlight not only the current effects of the recession on New Zealand families, but also focus on some of the long term inequities that have contributed to poverty and social injustice within our society. Vulnerability Reports will only be published on-line with printable versions downloadable from the www.justiceandcompassion.org.nz website.

ENDS

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