THE number of people living without electricity is on the rise, as many struggle to pay their bills.
The Examiner launched its 56th annual Winter Relief Appeal yesterday, and beneficiaries the St Vincent de Paul Society, Salvation Army, Benevolent Society and City Mission all said demand was growing for their services.
St Vincent de Paul Society Northern region manager Jane Forrest said more people were seeking assistance to repay debt to have their electricity reconnected.
``I've had a person live without power for three weeks with three small children and we worked with that person for a month to get their power back on,'' she said.
``Those stories are becoming more common.''
The Salvation Army's Anita Reeve said suitable and affordable housing was a major concern, and City Mission community relations manager Brian Roach said the federal government's latest budget would only make matters worse.
``Our Missiondale facility can house 32 residents but because of lack of funding and because we have got to have our correct ratios for residents and staff, we can only accommodate about 20 at the moment,'' Mr Roach said.
Benevolent Society chief executive John Stuart said he had six people walk in off the street yesterday looking for food.
Last year's Winter Relief Appeal raised $49,975.
Donations to The Examiner Winter Relief Appeal can be made at the newspaper's Launceston, Hobart and Devonport offices and at businesses displaying a Winter Relief Appeal tin.