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You can help BaptistCare HopeStreet to provide food services and vital support to families and individuals desperately trying to make ends meet.
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01 September 2022
At BaptistCare HopeStreet, we’re witnessing the desperation and pressure families and individuals are experiencing due to the increased cost of living.
Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics report the consumer price index has risen to 6.1% over the last 12 months1.
When Laney’s* maternity leave came to an end, she found out her position no longer existed. The mother of a five-month-old and a two-year-old had no job to return to.
“My workplace hadn’t told me, so I am desperately trying to find another job while I take care of my children and husband Scott*, who has a disability. My income was important to us as a little family,” said Laney.
Laney cannot access day care for her babies while she searches for work as the fees are exorbitant and the bond, which includes two weeks of fees, must be paid beforehand. It works out to a $2,000 payment per child, and they simply can’t afford it.
Laney is limited in the support she can receive from the Australian Government due to her recent citizenship change. “My husband is Australian, I’m originally from America. I received support as a temporary resident but the moment I became a permanent resident I now have to wait four years to access 95% of Centrelink payments,” said Laney.
“Between formula, nappies and wipes for my babies, it comes to about $60 every week, which is a lot when we have no income coming in. We’re currently living off my husband’s disability pension.”
Laney’s husband, Scott, has mental illness due to childhood trauma which has been further impacted by physical injury. “He was cleared to do a few hours a week at work to help with his mental health, then he got hurt at work injuring his shoulder, neck, back and down into his knee. Things have gone downhill since then.”
Laney and Scott had run out of options to feed their small family until they came across BaptistCare HopeStreet.
Josephine Farnham, HopeStreet manager, says her team is currently overwhelmed with families and individuals seeking food support. “When we first met Laney, she was having a hard time purchasing the essentials like nappies and formula for her babies. Laney and her husband are the perfect example of a young Australian family struggling to make it through the week where circumstances are out of their control,” said Josephine.
“Aside from the price of food and fuel continuing to escalate, now that electricity and gas has gone through the roof, we’re seeing low resourced people and expect to see more and more two income families also coming to us for food support.”
Josephine and our team have been able to come alongside Laney and her family, providing food, essentials, and practical support like linking them with services and advocating on their behalf with local day care centres. When a space becomes available, the centre will accommodate their toddler, waiving fees until they get back on their feet.
Laney is so grateful for the help. “Josephine is just so wonderful. She actually listened to me and was understanding about the whole situation. We’re in a hard spot due to my citizenship and job loss, but Josephine sees me as a person, and my little family actually needing help.”
“The food really makes an impact, it’s mostly a lot of meats. HopeStreet provides for a lot of our main meals, and I can make it work for us and the kids. We don’t go hungry,” said Laney.
The next hurdle for this family will be finding reliable housing as their current housing expires in 16 months. “The housing priority waitlist is about five years, so it’s a valid concern. Everyone is charging top rent. They don’t even put a price on the rental properties anymore, they have ‘best offer’. People are fighting for rentals and not being able to afford it in the long run,” said Josephine.
Laney has an optimistic outlook. “We’re not completely homeless. We normally end up making it through okay, you know, we’ll work something out. We’re just a little family struggling during this time. It’s just gotten to the bit where it’s hard to maintain right now,” said Laney.
We believe every woman, man and child has a right to a safe, happy home with food on the table. We need your help to continue to support families like Laney’s and Scott’s, and individuals, to provide food support and help them through tough times.
1Australian Bureau of Statistics, June 2022
*Names have been changed