According to UNSW and ACOSS report, Poverty in Australia 2020, 1 in 8 Australians are living in poverty, and the poverty rate among children is much higher, more than 1 in 6. Poverty is defined as having a lack of money for immediate basic needs – such as food, housing, clothing – and for long-term savings or wealth.
We also spoke with Andrew Robinson from The Salvos, who gave us some jarring statistics:
‘From November 2020 to January 2021, the number of people seeking Emergency Relief assistance who were employed increased sixfold, while people with no income tripled, compared to the same period the year before’. The Salvos Making Ends Meet report, May 2021, notes that more than half of the respondents reported they regularly skipped meals and were unable to afford enough food to feed their families.
‘Last year during the Christmas period, The Salvation Army distributed over 64,000 hampers and vouchers worth over $1.89 million to those finding it almost impossible to make ends meet and gave out over 26,000 gifts and toys to families in need of a hand. The Salvos also supported the vulnerable by ‘providing over 130,000 meals across the country, more than 66,000 beds for those needing a place to stay and supporting over 10,000 families with accommodation during the festive season.’
According to The Salvos, this year, the needs and number of vulnerable Aussie’s are expected to reach a new peak. ‘Christmas is the busiest time of the year for The Salvos across the country. While Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many, others doing it tough in our community find it an extremely difficult period for them personally.
The increased isolation, financial stress, and mental health impacts of COVID-19 this year will only exacerbate these issues. The Salvos want to leave no one in need this Christmas and need the generosity of the public once again to those doing it really tough’.