This is what a ‘typical’ Mission client looks like – and she might not be who you think she is
MEDIA RELEASE: AUCKLAND CITY MISSION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 16th DECEMBER 2016
Brianna* has been sitting on the footpath outside the Auckland City Mission since 4:30am this morning. She’s 35 years-old, a full-time caretaker for her severely disabled brother and is doing her best to raise two young nieces.
According to a survey of 105 people waiting in line outside the charity’s doors this week, Brianna is statistically ‘typical.’
Her family is the reason she’s here today, hoping to receive a modest food parcel, a gift for each of the two little girls and a $100 grant to help her make it through Christmas.
“People go past and judge, but they don’t always know what’s going on. I spend 85 per cent of my income on rent,” she explains.
She sounds exhausted; but then, so do most of the people in line alongside her – and for good reason.
The survey, conducted by Mission staff over six days and on top of regular individual assessments, shows that the “typical” person in line is a woman (83 per cent) aged between 20-40 years. She probably lives with at least 5 people and there’s a 26 per cent chance that she lives with 7 or more. Of those in her household, it’s highly likely (43%) that at least one is a child born to someone else whom she is helping to raise – either a niece/nephew, grandchild, cousin or young sibling.
Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly, says these findings are particularly poignant following this week’s release of the 2016 Child Poverty Monitor results.
“The Mission’s own figures reflect many of the findings in this year’s Child Poverty Monitor,” says Mr Farrelly.
“For instance, the Monitor shows us that 16 per cent of kiwi children live in overcrowded homes. Our survey reflects this, with 48 per cent of respondents saying they live with 5 or more people. One woman we spoke with yesterday lives with 15 other people, while another couldn’t even say for sure because so many are coming and going on a given day in her household,” he says.
Overcrowding has serious health implications for children in particular, with higher rates of serious illnesses such as Meningococcal Disease and Rheumatic Fever found in households where at least one extra bedroom is needed in order to adequately house the inhabitants.
While the ‘typical’ person in line at the Mission might be classified as unemployed, even this isn’t as straightforward as some might think. It is likely that she is studying (18 per cent), serving as a full-time caregiver for an adult relative, retired or a new mum. Furthermore, if she is unemployed, she is likely to be actively seeking employment (72 per cent of respondents who are unemployed).
In fact, only 11 of the 105 people surveyed were both unemployed (excluding those who were retired, caretakers, new mums or disabled) and not actively looking for work.
“One of the questions we asked people was, if they could name just one thing that would significantly improve their life, what would it be?” says Mr Farrelly. “It comes as little surprise, given the information above, that the most popular answer by far was ‘a steady source of income,’ or simply, ‘a job’. These are people who want to improve things for their families and provide a better future for their children.”
“When you think about the amount of stress that many of these families are under, it’s amazing that they’re able to think about anything outside of basic survival,” says Mr Farrelly.
The final question on the Mission’s survey was whether there was a message the respondent would like to send out into the wider community. Brianna’s answer was repeated by many of the people in line with her.
“Merry Christmas,” she said.
*Name has been changed to protect client privacy
Please donate to the Mission’s Christmas Appeal today at becomesomeonesangel.co.nz because 80 per cent of the Mission’s operating costs are funded by donations.
Note to editors:
For more information, or to organise an interview with Missioner Chris Farrelly, please contact:
Alexis Sawyers, Team Leader – Fundraising
DDI: 09 303 9780
Mobile: 021 120 5989 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Images are also available on request.
This Christmas, with your help, the Mission will:
- Provide 4,114 Christmas emergency food parcels, enabling families to celebrate Christmas at home;
- Distribute 8,000 presents to Auckland children who would otherwise miss out, including through other community organisations;
- Host 2,000 guests at our Christmas Lunch
- Continue to be there every day for Aucklanders in desperate need
KEY MISSION EVENTS LEADING UP TO CHRISTMAS
‘Become Someone’s Angel’ fundraising site:
The Mission’s dedicated fundraising microsite, becomesomeonesangel.co.nz, is now live. Create a unique fundraising page for yourself, your school or your business and share your results with friends, family and colleagues.
Weekends in December
Silo Park Markets
From Friday, 9th, each weekend in December Silo6 will be transformed into the Become Someone’s Angel Forest. The rough, industrial interior will be softened by the presence of Christmas trees. Visitors can purchase a pair of paper angel wings and share their message of hope by tying their wings to one of the festive branches.
|All Aucklanders are encouraged to become Santa’s Helpers by collecting cash donations, new gifts and non-perishable food items for those most in need. A big thank you to our partners at Urgent Couriers who have delivered Mission collection boxes to Santa’s Helpers so far. Mission drivers can also pick up collections from our Santa’s Helpers in time for Christmas. To register as a Santa’s Helper and for more information, contact Mackenzie Pickert at email@example.com or on (09) 303 9261.|
Donate presents via ASB
|Every Christmas, the Mission distributes thousands of gifts to children who, otherwise, would go without. You can donate new, unwrapped presents at your local ASB branch. For more information, please contact Mackenzie Pickert at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (09) 303 9261.|