Thursday 6 March 2014
Henderson-Massey Local Board
OPEN MINUTE ITEM ATTACHMENTS
8.1 Citizens Advice Bureau
A. Presentation from Citizen Advice Bureau 3
8.2 Zeal Education Trust - Brook Turner
8.3 Te Atatu Peninsula Business Association - Deputation
Henderson-Massey Local Board
06 March 2014
CITIZEN’S ADVICE BUREAUX UPDATE
Presenter: Jim Sinclair, Chairperson CAB Waitakere Board
The CAB Waitakere Board
This Board is the governance body for the West Auckland cluster of Citizen’s Advice Bureaux and has an Administration Office at Glen Eden. We are responsible for five Branches at the following locations:
· Glen Eden
· New Lynn
CAB Henderson Update (Manager – Heather Hahn)
Our office hours are Monday – Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm.
In the year ending 2013 the Branch received 16149 client inquiries making it the second busiest in New Zealand.
Of these, 25% were complex cases requiring intensive use of resources, advocacy and interview time.
In addition to the core free service of professional and confidential advice and information, the Branch currently offers the following, additional, free services to clients representing a diverse range of socio-economic, ethnic and age groups.
- JP clinics, five mornings per week, 10.00am – 12 noon.
- Problem gambling counselling, Mondays and Thursdays.
- Budget clinics, four days per week, Tuesday – Friday.
- Counselling clinic, Friday afternoons.
- Legal clinic, Wednesday, 1.00pm – 2.00pm.
Trends in the last six months
Relationship issues and budgeting are statistically the most sort after issues clients have been seeking advice about for the period 1/7/2013 – 31/12/2013.
· With the removal of the Family Court Coordinator from the local Waitakere District Court into Auckland City, it would appear the Bureau is becoming the first port of call for clients seeking advice on separation and access/custody issues. As these issues are often complex and emotional, it quite often involves a lot of time spent with a volunteer, who is not only providing clients with options, but also a listening ear.
· WINZ policy requiring client to seek budgeting advice prior to having advances approved has increased the demand for budgeting services. These clients often come in wanting to see a budgeter immediately, often in a highly stressed state.
· Both the Budgeting service and the JPs have reported an increase in the number of clients applying for hardship to withdraw their Kiwisaver funds to meet their day-to-day living costs. There has also been a steady increase in the number of clients applying for NAP (No Asset Procedure) and Bankruptcy through the budgeting service. This demand has resulted the Bureau providing an extra clinic each week.
· Other highly sort after client inquiries include legal matters (JP, Court referred for limited licence applications, requests for legal information) citizenship and immigration queries, and rental housing – all reflecting our demographic and proximity to UNITEC, the District Court and WINZ.
· CAB Henderson, in particular, as well as other Branches in the West Auckland cluster, really appreciate the support and special relationship that has developed with the Waitakere Community Law Service, in the provision of advice and especially with the ongoing training of our volunteers.
CAB Massey Update (Manager – Barbara Guy)
Office hours Monday – Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm.
· Many Local Board members will know Barbara, who is our most experienced and longest serving Manager. She is well respected for her knowledge of things CAB and for some years has been a lead person in Massey Matters. She has an excellent understanding of the issues facing clients in the district.
· In addition to the core free service of professional and confidential advice and information, the Branch currently offers the following, additional, free services to clients representing a diverse range of socio-economic, ethnic and age groups.
- JP clinics, Monday – Friday 1.00pm – 3.00pm.
- Legal clinic, Wednesday noon –1.00pm.
- Budget clinics, Monday and Tuesday mornings.
- Counselling – negotiating with new counsellor.
Trends in the last six months
Relationship breakdown, budgeting and financial difficulties, accommodation and work related issues are the main causes of stress in the district.
· The issue that has clients seeking help from us in the greatest numbers is relationships. This generally involves a relationship breakdown, and all of the issues that flow from that – custody, and access etc.
· With less service available from the Family Court – we are often the first port of call. With the decrease in counselling funded by the Family Court we expect community-counselling services such as our own to be in even greater demand.
· The second largest category is Budgeting and Financial Difficulty. In part this has been brought about through changes in Work and Income policy – where clients need to have budgeting before they are eligible for further grants.
· The rich/poor divide is in evidence with many of our clients not having one full time job, but one or more part-time jobs. Or they are employed on an as need basis casually by employers. It is much harder for these clients to budget, as their income is uncertain.
· The third largest by numbers is Housing and rental Housing in particular. Rental Housing is in short supply. We have had clients who have lived in a house for over 5 years, only to have their landlord now want to realise their capital gain. Finding another rental is invariably considerably more expensive than their current situation. Many of our clients find the lack of security of tenure inherent in rental housing very stressful. For their children it can mean changes in schooling, with the increased risks associated. The cost of housing is adversely impacting upon our clients’ lives.
· The next on our list is conditions of work.
The future for CAB Massey
It is understood that work on the Westgate Civic Centre will commence very soon and CAB Massey is looking forward to being able to serve the community from new premises in the new library building in about 18 months.
As you know, considerable population growth has been planned for the district in the near future. It is important that these new premises have the accommodation to allow service to match the anticipated growth of client demand.