THE working poor are struggling to make ends meet, according to a senior welfare worker.
Judith Wilson, who manages Wangaratta’s Junction Support Family Services, said an increasing number of people were battling to juggle paying the bills with feeding their family.
Ms Wilson said the spread of this sort of hardship was a “hidden type of poverty”.
“Others are unaware of the difficulties the working poor face and their struggles to access welfare,” she said.
“They have been self-sufficient and don’t know how to go about getting help when they need it.”
With prices for electricity, food and petrol all on the rise, Ms Wilson said just because somebody was employed, it did not mean it was easy to provide for a family.
Junction Support Services yesterday held a picnic in the park at The Cube as part of Anti-Poverty Week.
“We can’t fix poverty with this picnic but we need to start the conversation,” Ms Wilson said.
“We need to eliminate stigma and encourage people in need to access the services available.”
Ms Wilson said if those in need accessed services, the number of stricken people would drop significantly.
Wodonga mother Paula Cardamone enjoyed a hot dog at the picnic yesterday with her young son Sam.
She said many people would not be aware of the problems faced by the working poor.
“People go about their daily life and don’t think about what happens in other people’s,” she said.
“The idea of the working poor is hidden and I think being a regional town, people probably don’t expect it to happen here.”
Mrs Cardamone, who is expecting a child in three months, said necessities were too expensive for some families.
Ms Wilson said she wanted people to have the courage to seek help and anybody struggling should contact Junction Support Services.