Oamaru's new starts

New starts in life are meant to be positive moves, but for many Family Works’ clients in North Otago that is not the case.

Unable to pay Oamaru’s increasing rents, low-income and non-working families are settling in satellite communities outside of town, which at first glance seems a sensible thing to do.

However, when they realise there is no public transport and their household budget doesn’t stretch to running a vehicle, that new start isn’t so rosy.

“The same struggles they’ve always had in making ends meet suddenly become very serious, which, in turn, means more complex needs requiring more time and energy on the part of our social worker,” says Rachel McAnally, Family Works Rural Practice Manager.

“When someone’s in survival mode they can’t think long-term, and if there are physical and mental disabilities, as there often are, then the situation becomes a whole lot more difficult.

“Most of our new clients face issues that seriously affect how their families’ function, consequently, the support we provide is wide and varied. It’s certainly not easy, but with the backing of volunteers and donors we know we make a difference,” Rachel adds.

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