If you are struggling to get by while studying the first place to turn is AUSA Welfare. We can help you out with a food parcel, advocacy help, or with a monetary grant to cover urgent and unexpected problems. However, we are not the only people who can help. It can be hard to find help lurking in the fine print on organisations’ websites, so here’s a quick guide courtesy of our advocates.
The University of Auckland
The University runs the Student Emergency Fund to help students if, due to an unexpected event, they face financial difficulties which threaten their studies. The University may also be able to provide you with confidential financial advice if you apply. Check the University’s Hardship support page on their website, or visit the Student Information Centre for the application form.
Work and Income, StudyLink, or the Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to help you find a local food bank. WINZ or StudyLink should also be able to provide you with a letter to prove your eligibility if necessary. One such foodbank is located at the Auckland City Mission. You will require a letter from one of the above organisations, proving that you have exhausted your options at those agencies. Alternatively, you can take ID and proof of your financial situation directly to the Mission’s social worker. The Mission runs a drop-in service from Monday to Friday 9am – 4.30pm. From here, you are able to get 6 parcels per year, each of which should last about a week.
Food Parcels from AUSA
Food parcels can be picked up from AUSA Reception during our opening hours. Each student can take up to three parcels a semester, with no other prerequisites. For more information about AUSA’s Student Support Hub see here. AUSA Hardship Grants can be found here.
StudyLink may be able to provide you with what they call an Emergency Needs Grant of up to $200 for urgent things like food, bedding, or medical costs. This can be granted every 6 months, and you do not need to be on an existing benefit. If you have exhausted this option, then StudyLink should provide you with a letter stating that you are ineligible for a food grant, which you may need to claim a food parcel from other foodbanks.
StudyLink also offers Recoverable Assistance Payments to pay for urgent needs when you have no other way of paying for them. This money, however, does have to be paid back.
Have a look at the Studylink website’s Other Help page or call 0800 88 99 00 for more information.