Shane started working as a labourer after 14 years of extensive hours as a qualified chef began to weigh on him. Two years ago, he was laid off from the hydraulic workshop he worked in, along with a few other colleagues.
Since then Shane has struggled to find work, and in his late 40s, he’s gone from preparing an abundance of food to hardly meeting his own dietary requirements.
“I’m having smaller meals cause I’ve got to pay for electricity. To be honest, it’s leaving me up the river. I do my best to get by,” said Shane.
“People think you’re a dole bludger. But I’m not that. I’ve been working since I was 15. Not being able to get work, it’s frustrating. I’ve put my name down to volunteer, and I’m actively looking for jobs."
Shane now survives on $1100 less a fortnight compared to what he was earning as a labourer. From local supermarkets to the butcher, Shane is often told he’s either over or under qualified for jobs. “I guess my age has got something to do with it. I’ve asked to push brooms, be a cleaner or trolley boy, but a few of these places just want younger kids, they’re cheaper on the award wage.”
Residing in a one-bedroom unit where it recently took four months for his kitchen sink to be repaired, Shane’s rent is $200 a week. “Some people would think it’s a bit of a horrible place but I can’t afford anything else.”
Just $50 a week is spent on food, and Shane says there is only so much sausage, mince, pasta and rice that one can handle. At HopeStreet, he finds a reprieve. He has breakfast and lunch here most days.
For Shane, HopeStreet is a place he can find support, friendship and hope.
“I try to stay positive. I just got to look on the bright side. Coming to HopeStreet helps. We all sit here and chat, get it off our chest, and it makes us feel better.”
“Hopefully I won’t have to live like this forever.”
Giving to HopeStreet makes a tangible difference to real people, it means we can give support when governments won’t, visit hopestreet.org.au/donate today.
Unemployment figures mask the growing problem of underemployment.
Simple maths shows a lot of people compete for a small number of job vacancies.
ABS Labour Force figures (May 2021), Centre for Social Impact, CSI 2021, Budget Response, 13 May 2021