The Salvos met with other leading welfare agencies and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) on Tuesday 2nd July in Canberra to warn the major parties about a growing crisis in housing affordability.
The Salvation Army, along with ACOSS and other agencies are seeking a purposeful and serious commitment from both Labor and the coalition about funding and are advocating for it to be elevated to top priority at the coming election later in the year.
ACOSS’s annual Australian Community Sector Survey of 532 agencies showed that housing available and affordability is the greatest unmet need for clients of welfare services.
The survey found that 66 per cent of housing and homeless services struggled to meet demand and 60 per cent of overall respondents listed housing and homelessness services amongst those for which their clients had the highest need.
The Salvation Army’s National Secretariat Major Kelvin Alley confirmed that the major common factor of need is the availability of affordable housing.
The Salvation Army’s Economic and Social Impact Survey 2013 surveyed over 2700 clients accessing its emergency relief and community support services found that housing affordability and high rent is impacting on other areas. 92% of respondents had little or no savings for emergencies, 27% could not afford heating or cooling in even one room and 58% could not pay utility bills on time.
One respondent commented:
“Property rental is very high. I pay $190 a week…this leaves too little left over. Electricity and gas bills keep going up and up.”
The Salvos run over 1000 social programs across Australia helping those struggling with finances, drugs and alcohol, family issues and youth homelessness.