With the onset of winter and growing fears that recent legislative changes may increase rents, placing additional stress on families, charities are bracing for an expected surge in demand.
To help address the increase in need, a social enterprise that derives its funding from its hospitality and retail operations is committing over $1m to charities and local groups this year - despite facing an uncertain trading environment.
The Trusts, who will allocate the funding to community organisations, said the pandemic has changed the face of need in New Zealand and their model is being adapted to ensure charitable organisations can continue to provide structured support where it is most required.
Allan Pollard, The Trusts CEO commented that Christmas, the start of the school year and winter are the three most difficult times of the year for families managing their budgets.
“For many Kiwi families, the arrival of winter signals a new round of financial pressure that they are often ill-equipped to bear. The cost of new clothing, bedding and just staying warm over winter will see many families having to make choices that may risk compromising their health - whether it is through changing their nutritional intake or even sacrificing a visit to the doctor,” he noted.
“At the same time, the spectre of potential rents increase as a result of changes in the macro-environment creates uncertainty and stress. While some tenants may have the option to move home if their rent is increased, for many even the expense of shifting house creates another cost they simply cannot afford.
“Sadly, it is some of the most vulnerable in our community that live continuously on the threshold of financial hardship - struggling from week to week.”
Pollard explained that the Your West Support Fund will offer funding of up to $20,000 for each community cause that applies and meets their criteria.
He said the first round of funding will open in July, with a second round planned for February-March next year.
“In addition to helping local charities continue their work at the coal face, we recognise that there are other segments of the community that could benefit from additional financial support. We want to provide a model that is as free of restrictions and flexible as possible at a time when need has evolved and so many more in our community are turning to charities for support.”
Pollard said in addition to the Your West Support Fund, The Trusts will also open expressions of interest for major grants later in the year. He said this is expected to see hundreds of thousands of dollars provided in grants and sponsorships for community projects.
Pollard concluded that charities, schools, and community groups that support the West Auckland region who are interested in applying for funding through the Your West Support Fund or the major grants expressions of interest should contact The Trusts for more information.