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Salvation Army Out of Reach Report

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The Salvation Army is calling on both sides of politics to make poverty a key Federal Election issue after releasing disturbing new statistics on the level of poverty in Australia.

“The key findings of a horrific new report paint a bleak picture of what real life is like for Australians on the breadline,” says The Salvation Army’s Major Bruce Harmer. “We cannot keep putting a band-aid on disadvantage. We need serious funding to develop innovative solutions to the complex issues of entrenched poverty.”
Now in its fifth year, The Salvation Army’s Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) surveyed more than 1600 clients across Australia.

It found that a massive 68 per cent of clients living in private rental properties or paying off a mortgage experience extreme housing stress – using nearly two thirds of their disposable income on housing/accommodation.

Nearly 1 in 5 are either homeless or living in temporary accommodation – of these almost 1 in 3 previously privately rented. “What this tells us is that private rentals are not a secure form of housing for those living on the breadline,” says Major Harmer. “One small change to an individual or family’s income, or an unexpected bill or expense can lead to a tenancy being lost and a family becoming homeless.”

Major Harmer says, “We need leadership and action from all levels of Government. The results of this extensive survey of 1632 people are utterly shameful. It shows the real level of struggle taking place in our ‘lucky country’.
The 2016 ESIS Report reveals family violence is the leading factor in housing transiency. In fact, respondents affected by family violence were most affected by extreme housing stress. “We see very clearly from this research that many children are at significant risk of social exclusion because of generational poverty, unemployment and housing instability,” says Major Harmer.

The report reveals:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) are either HOMELESS or living in TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION. (1 in 3 previously rented privately).
  • 37% of people responding who are homeless had experienced persistent homelessness for 2 years (1 in 10 had moved six times in the past 12 months).
  • A massive 86% of clients and 58% of households with children report severe deprivation and go without five or more basic items.
  • Numerous clients live off just $16.96 a day after housing/accommodation is paid for
  • Some clients – on Newstart – survive off just $15.29 a day after housing/accommodation is paid for.
  • 6 out of 10 respondents cannot afford an internet connection for their child.
  • 1 in 5 cannot afford medical treatment or prescribed medicine for their children and 2 in 5 cannot afford a yearly dental checkup for their child.

Major Harmer says, “We need leadership and action from all levels of Government. The results of this extensive survey of 1632 people are utterly shameful. It shows the real level of struggle taking place in our ‘lucky country’.

https://salvos.org.au/scribe/sites/auesalvos/files/media/newsroom/pdf/The-Salvation-Army-ESIS2016_Report.pdf

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