Whānau Of People In Prison Set To Face Extreme Difficulty This Winter – Pillars

Whānau of people in prison face extreme difficulty during Winter. With the cost of living in New Zealand reaching a three-decade high, an already vulnerable population will struggle to meet their basic needs. Pillars is campaigning to bring sunshine back to a Pillars whānau this winter, raising money so that children of people in prison can have the chance to be warm, healthy and happy this winter.

52% of Pillars whānau live in housing that does not meet their needs. One family of 7 sleep in the living room all winter, as other rooms in their house are too cold, mouldy, and damp for their young children.

Another family has no car, so each morning their sick father takes the kids to school on his bike. The kids often show up to class drenched.

85% of Pillars children are struggling at school. Having a parent in prison can be tough to navigate and can affect their ability to really engage in learning at school. Pair this with freezing cold temperatures, damp, leaky, overcrowded homes; many whānau are living in survival mode, forcing school to take a back seat. This has a long-term effect on young people’s access to future opportunities, contributing to intergenerational cycles of poverty, inequality, and crime.

11.0 percent of children in New Zealand live in a household experiencing material hardship. This is defined as lacking 6 or more of the 17 items most households regard as essential. The deprivation index asks families questions like: if they have two pairs of shoes in good condition, a meal with meat, fish or chicken at least each second day. Can they pay for electricity and gas on time? Do they put up with feeling cold, or postpone or put off visits to the doctor. These are just some of the harsh realities many Pillars family’s face.

Pillars provides wrap-around social work support to children and families of people in prison. Pillars works from a whānau first, strength-based approach. Meaning, instead of treating every family the same, Pillars address the family’s immediate needs and help to emphasise strengths they already have. These needs are far greater and prevalent during the winter months, and Pillars need extra support to complete their mahi.

Pillars is asking the community to support their mahi this winter, a little bit of sunshine in the form of financial support in what can be a grey, bleak season goes a long way. By helping Pillars, you can be the bringer of that sunshine for a child this winter.

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