Economic and Social Impact Survey reveals full scale of hardship
The Salvation Army’s 5th National Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) surveyed more than 1600 Salvation Army clients across Australia. It found that children are hugely impacted, moving house multiple times a year, moving schools and missing out on medications, dental checks and even access to the internet due to extreme poverty with some single parent families living off less than $16 a day after accommodation expenses.
AT A GLANCE
- 68% of clients are now suffering extreme housing stress spending over 60% of income on housing.
- Family violence is the leading cause of housing transiency with children at significant risk of social exclusion due to housing instability. 64% of respondents who moved due to family violence say their children had to change schools as a result. 40% of people who were surveyed have moved house an average of three (2.7) times in just 12 months.
- 86% of clients (and 58% of households with children) report severe deprivation and now go without 5 or more basic items.
- Numerous clients live off just $16.96 a day (to pay for everything after housing /accommodation is paid for.)
- Some clients on Newstart Allowance are having to survive off just $15.29 a day.
Impact on children:
- 20% (one in five) cannot afford medical treatment or medicines that are prescribed for their child and 42% (two in five) cannot afford a yearly dental check-up for their child.
- More than half of all parents surveyed (6 out of 10) cannot afford an internet connection for their child. This places children at significant risk of social exclusion and hinders their ability to fully participate in schooling.
The report also shows people from regional towns/rural areas are over-represented in the survey, as are Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander people.
STORY IN FULL
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 deeply bleak picture of what real life is like for Australians on the breadline,” says The Salvation Army's Territorial Public Relations Secretary, Major Paul Hateley. “We cannot keep putting a bandaid 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% 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 Hateley. “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.”
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 Hateley. "Having to move, sometimes numerous times a year, affects a child's schooling, their ability to make and maintain friendships, their confidence.
“Through no fault of their own, these kids are missing out. Something needs to be done to give children affected by poverty, family violence and housing stress some security."
The report reveals:
- Respondents affected by family violence were most affected by extreme housing stress. And family violence is the key reason why women (37%) moved in the past 12 months.
- 64% of respondents who moved due to family violence said their children had to change schools when their family moved.
- 40% of people who were surveyed had moved house – on average – almost three (2.7) times in 12 months.
- 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 check- up for their child.
Major Hateley 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 so-called 'lucky country’.
“Now, more than ever, it's time for Australia to reclaim our great Aussie spirit - of neighbours who care for their neighbours. The Salvation Army is committed to working with all levels of government, the private sector and other service providers to develop innovative solutions to inter-generational poverty.
“Because when we walk beside people, it's for the long haul. We believe hope is for everyone.”
The Salvation Army is calling on Australians to support its 2016 Red Shield Appeal so that it can direct more funding to its domestic violence and family support services. “Our crisis accommodation services for women and children are constantly full," says Major Hateley. “We need the support of Australians through the Red Shield Appeal in order to open up more beds for families in need and to implement early intervention and innovating social enterprise schemes so that people in poverty can break the cycle.
“It's very hard to change your circumstances when you're trying to survive on $15 a day after your accommodation is paid for,” says Major Hateley. “A donation to The Salvation Army will help us walk alongside families and individuals for the long haul. Your donation will lead to lasting change.”
The weekend of the Red Shield Appeal Doorknock nationwide is Saturday May 28th and Sunday May 29th 2016.
For further information or media comment please contact:
Emma Daniell – Media
The Salvation Army – Australia Southern Territory (Vic., SA, Tas., WA & NT)
Tel: 03 8878 2464 Mob: 0428 768 919 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org