Crisis support volunteers anticipating a busy winter in the south-west have issued a plea: let us help you.
St Vincent de Paul north western central council president Chris Pye said many were struggling to keep up with the cost of living.
"We're seeing a lot of financial stress at the moment as interest rates and living costs rise, making it hard for people to make ends meet," he said. "We're seeing more people struggling to keep up with their utility bills, meaning their service is cut off.
"And there's an absolute lack of affordable housing here in the south-west and that's a real worry coming into winter."
Vinnies assists people living in poverty by providing assistance with food and utility bills, as well as furniture and bedding.
But Jill Haberfield, the president of the society's welfare arm St Joseph's Conference, said disadvantaged people didn't always speak up.
"I think there's still stigma around money worries and poverty, especially for people who have a job and might not fall into that stereotypical low socio-economic demographic," she said.
Ms Haberfield said those previously unaffected by poverty were now finding themselves in distress.
She said homelessness was a growing problem across the south-west and people living in their cars needed more vouchers for food and fuel.
"We're here to help if you let us help you," Ms Haberfield said.
She said Vinnies was often only associated with the opportunity shop and not the welfare support behind the scenes.
In a little building out the back of the Fairy Street op shop, volunteers offer financial assistance, advice and referrals to other agencies.
They also provide support in a "no judgement zone", Ms Haberfield said.
She said there was no shame in doing it tough and urged those in need to contact Vinnies on 5561 0767.
The volunteers on Wednesday launched their winter appeal which targets homelessness and people fleeing domestic violence.
Mr Pye said all money donated in the south-west would stay in the south-west.
He said donations would provide clothing, blankets, food, connection to specialised services and financial assistance during the winter months.
Mr Pye said volunteers could also help people organise payment plans on utility bills.
To donate, visit vinnies.org.au or call 13 18 12.
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