The manager of the Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre says many people are experiencing lack of food security and difficulty finding safe, secure and affordable accommodation.
Shirley Kent said the issues of poverty and homelessness are prominent in the region.
The Kempsey region has been shown to have a high population of residents living in economic disadvantage, according to figures released by the New South Wales Council of Social Services (NCOSS) in 2019.
The data showed 19.2 per cent of people in the region are living in poverty.
Nine per cent of those people are youths (aged 15 to 24), 24 per cent are children (under 15), 50 per cent are working-age people (aged 25-64) and 17 per cent were older people (aged 65 and above).
Ms Kent said the centre is under significant pressure to help everyone who needs assistance in the community.
Staff do what they can to help but unfortunately can only do so much.
Ms Kent said the Newstart Allowance isn't enough for people to live on, once they pay their rent.
There is a limited amount left for people to buy food and pay bills.
"I see a lot of people go hungry," she said.
The centre provides free tea, coffee and biscuits for people. Ms Kent once met a couple of young men who came to the centre to have a coffee and a couple of biscuits for breakfast, as they didn't have anything else to eat.
"They were extremely well mannered and took off their shoes before they entered the centre," she said.
"I have no doubt that on some days the coffee and biscuits would have been the only thing they ate."
The centre fundraises so they can provide people with emergency food relief packages and toiletries.
"There was one person who got excited because it was the first time he'd had a new toothbrush," Ms Kent said.
The Kempsey area, Ms Kent said has a high unemployment rate. She said some people she sees are qualified to do a number of jobs but are still not obtaining work.
Since the bushfire crisis, the issues of poverty and homelessness have become worse.
"We were already a community in crisis before the fires," Ms Kent said.
It's become harder for people who are struggling to obtain short term accommodation or emergency accommodation. Ms Kent said there needs to be more accommodation available to those who need it the most.
Mental health issues, Ms Kent said are also prevalent, and compounded by the problems people are facing in the community.
She said the centre will refer to other services to link people for support.
On a daily basis, the centre sees people who are struggling to get by and staff do the best they can to help with what they've got.
"We hold on to the fact that we're making a difference," Ms Kent said.
"While we might not be able to address the bigger issues, we can assist people on a day to day basis."
The centre hosts a free barbecue for people who need support every Monday from 11am-1.30pm. The centre also hosts a free Orange Sky Laundry service on Tuesdays.
For more information about the centre, visit http://www.kempseync.org.au/
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