Border man tells of struggle to afford food

DIFFICULT CHOICES: Regular expenses, like utilities and rent, can make it hard for Chris, 25, to find money for food out of his Newstart allowance. Border support groups report a rise in the call for their services. Picture: MARK JESSER

DIFFICULT CHOICES: Regular expenses, like utilities and rent, can make it hard for Chris, 25, to find money for food out of his Newstart allowance. Border support groups report a rise in the call for their services. Picture: MARK JESSER

CHRIS admits he would have gone hungry if not for the Border’s emergency food programs.

The Albury-Wodonga man, 25, said everyday expenses like rent, gas and electricity took up most of his Newstart allowance.

“It does become a little bit tricky to be able to have that bit of money to buy food for myself,” he said.

“The only way that I could probably see out of it is for me to secure full-time employment.”

Not owning a car also makes day-to-day life harder.

“Getting to places, also with looking for work, obviously if I had a car I’d be able to expand my search,” he said.

“They do have buses, but the buses don’t run 24/7.”

Since February, 77 families, some with up to seven children, and 66 young people, including some young parents and their children, have used the crisis network of Border group Junction Support Services.

Client services manager Janine Lawler said most new clients faced immediate hardship and did not have accommodation or food.

“A lot of people live payday to payday and get into trouble if they lose their job, if there is a crisis or a big bill such as car registration,” she said.

“Our clients live off a very limited income, and something has to give – and in some cases that means choosing between the roof over their head or the food for themselves and their family.”

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