Co Tyrone financial aid service sees unprecedented demand as cost of living crisis rages
A financial aid service in Co Tyrone says it is experiencing unprecedented demand due to the current cost of living crisis.
With inflation at its highest level in 30 years, essential items are rising at their fastest pace in three decades
Meanwhile, fuel and energy prices have risen to their highest level ever.
Michael Roddy of Omagh Independent Advice Service said he had never seen anything like the impact of rising prices recently, with working families in particular struggling to make ends meet.
Michael told MyTyrone that workers are now coming to his service in unprecedented numbers.
“We’re seeing people now that traditionally we wouldn’t have seen before,” Michael said.
“Everyone knows that energy poverty existed before all of this, but it was usually limited to people who depended on benefits.
“What we are seeing now is a completely different scenario in that it is workers and working families who are really struggling to make ends meet due to rising costs.
“These are practically new demands, things that we would never have dealt with before.
“Most of our inquiries come from new sources, unlike our traditional repeat customers who we expect to see once or twice during the year.”
The rising cost of living is having a negative effect on the quality of life for locals and contributing to an increase in mental health issues, according to Michael.
“What we are seeing here is something we have never seen before as fuel prices are at an all time high.
“The cost of living in terms of ordinary expenses is exploding.
“This is happening at a time when wages are not going in the right direction.
“People struggle to bridge the gap between income and expenditure.
“All of this, together with the increase in basic needs, has a really negative effect on their quality of life.”
Although things may be difficult for people now, the head of the local independent advice service said the problem could worsen in the coming months as prices continue to rise.
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Michael added: “I think where we’re going to see the problem is probably further afield in terms of people having debt issues.
“I don’t know if there is much light at the end of the tunnel.
“I think there’s going to be a massive fallout somewhere down the line, maybe in the next six months to a year where you’re going to see people struggling to cope with the debt that got them through the most difficult times.”