For almost 5000 people, the brutal weather means more than just freezing temperatures and scraping ice from the car windscreen each morning.
Many will battle through every day, struggling to make ends meet, often without food on the table, or a roof over their heads.
Speaking to The Courier after receiving a huge donation of non-perishable goods yesterday, 3BA Christmas in July appeals director Peter Caligari said an alarming number of Ballarat residents now relied on local charities that were already at capacity.
“Often the difference between requiring assistance and not requiring assistance is one unexpected bill in the mail,” Mr Caligari said.
“It’s no longer the number of people in need, it’s the thousands of people in need.
“And that number is escalating at an alarming rate.”
Mr Caligari blamed “extremely tough times” for all in the community and said rapidly rising living costs meant more people seeking charity in order to survive.
He also slammed the City of Ballarat’s decision to increase rates by 7.5 per cent.
“The magnitude of these rate rises is just a huge body blow to people already struggling to make ends meet,” Mr Caligari said.
“Perhaps if the councillors who voted for the rate increase had have spent time at any one of the agencies in Ballarat, they may have had a different opinion on rising rates.”
Local not-for-profit organisation, the JFD Foundation, yesterday donated 15 pallets of goods to the appeal’s agency partners, including UnitingCare, Anglicare, the Salvation Army and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Anglicare manager Geoff Ryan, who was there to lend a hand unpacking the trucks full of goods, said his organisation would be forced to close their doors if not for the generosity of the community and the appeal.
“We really do rely on donations like this to keep afloat at this time of year,” Mr Ryan said.
“Without it, the results would be tragic.”
Describing only a few of the cases he was aware of in Ballarat, Mr Ryan said he knew of individuals who were sleeping in cars and on the street.
“The other day someone asked for an extra blanket because they had been sleeping in their car,” he said.
“While I know of numerous people sleeping on the street, often moving throughout the night in the fear of being bashed.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the appeal can drop donations of non-perishable food, blankets and cash to 3BA at 56 Lydiard Street, Ballarat.