Covid-19: Govt offers $10m funding for Aucklanders to access food, essential items

Source: 1News

While hardship has dropped off around the country with the reduction in alert level restrictions, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says many in Auckland are still experiencing tough times.

On Monday morning, the Government announced a further $10 million to help people access food and other essential items.

Since August 17, Government agencies have provided $69.31 million to support providers and organisations serving their communities.

The latest tranche announced on Monday, which is targeted to the Auckland region, is expected to help providers and organisations to distribute over 50,000 more food parcels and 20,000 essential wellbeing packs.

"We've still got a number of people that are still in self-isolation and for many of them their natural supports are also self isolating, and a number of people have experienced reduced hours during this time," Sepuloni told Breakfast.

"So there is certainly still hardship and we're working with our social services to be able to respond to that need."

She added that there's been "unprecedented demand" on services which offer food parcels and wellbeing packs, as well as people ringing the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) for emergency special needs grants.

"That has dropped off overall, mostly due to a reduction outside of Auckland, but in Auckland we're still seeing a demand that is, I think, 40 per cent higher than was it was pre-this particular outbreak and lockdown and so it is something that we're absolutely cognisant of and we continue to respond to as the days and weeks go by."

The additional funding comes after $32 million over two years was dedicated to the Food Secure Communities programme in Budget 2020. It was intended to help meet the additional demand on foodbanks, food rescue and other community providers as a result of Covid-19, including during lockdowns.

Anyone unable to afford food can contact MSD by calling 0800 559 009 to talk to someone about their circumstances, or find information at their website here .

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.