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Results

In summary

In summary, the ESIS 2014 respondent cohort (n= 2,485) closely replicates the demographics of people who access The Salvation Army ER services in general. Overall, results were similar to those reported in ESIS 2013 which suggests that disadvantage and levels of deprivation remain unresolved and largely entrenched in these communities.

ESIS 2014 was conducted in an economic climate that has seen rising utility costs and increasing housing affordability issues, coupled by the tightening of eligibility requirements for income and government service supports. As reflected in ESIS 2014 report, this situation has impacted the disadvantage and low income individuals and families, particularly their quality and standard of living, access to essential services and their capacity to engage meaningfully in education, training and/or employment. Many of these individuals and families have requested Emergency Relief assistance from The Salvation Army as the last-resort to meet their family’s basic needs. 

Similar to ESIS 2012 and ESIS 2013, a portion of the Australian population continue to be entrenched in poverty and experiencing deprivation. They and their families are being significantly excluded from what other Australian’s would consider as essential items and services. They are doing without meals, living in sub-standard accommodation and unable to afford access to basic health and recreational services. 

Similar to ESIS 2012 and ESIS 2013, a portion of the Australian population continue to be entrenched in poverty and experiencing deprivation.

The majority of respondents in ESIS 2014 are unemployed (83%) and on income support (91%)

Single parents were significantly represented (46%) and there were over 2,500 children represented. The deprivation felt by the children of the respondents is clearly shown, and despite parents’ best efforts to shield children from their own disadvantage, it was likely that the severe financial constraints would impact their children’s quality of life and access to some basic educational, social and recreational items necessary to prepare them for community life. Without proper interventions, it will compromise the ability of these children to secure future employment, lead a flourishing life and make positive contributions to Australian society. Therefore, inadvertently keeping the children of disadvantaged families in long-term poverty, with high levels of social exclusion and dependency on government and community supports, is likely to have long term impacts.

As in previous studies, the impact of deprivation and the level of multiple deprivations is higher for those individuals on the lower paid Newstart Allowance and those on the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

Of statistical significance is the level of multiple deprivations felt by individuals on Newstart Allowance who reported having a disability or health problem.  Utilising independent samples t-test, the mean deprivation of the Newstart Allowance cohort was significantly higher compared to the Disability Support Pension cohort.  Likewise, and using the same analysis, the children of this Newstart Allowance sub-group were experiencing higher levels of deprivation than the children of parents on Disability Support Pension.

Respondent comments, however, strongly support a desire to be working and to contribute more effectively to their families and their community. There is no sense of entitlement from respondents. Overwhelmingly, comments show how hard the struggle is for people in their current situation, and point to the lack of options, responsive services, and their enduring poverty as barriers to making an active, valued and positive contribution to their communities. 

Of statistical significance is the level of multiple deprivations felt by individuals on Newstart Allowance who reported having a disability or health problem.