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Salvos Battlers Doing It Tough

Extensive report paints a bleak picture of poverty

The Salvation Army will today release a poll of their Emergency Relief clients prior to their annual Red Shield Appeal this weekend. The “It’s Not Asking Too Much ... National Economic and Social Impact Survey 2013” report collected data from 2705 clients from 237 Salvation Army Centres across Australia. It paints a bleak picture of everyday life for many people in our communities.

The report reveals that 54% feel worse off than this time last year; two thirds (66%) have cut back on basic necessities. Over a quarter of clients (28%) cannot afford a substantial meal even once a day and 92% have little or no savings for emergencies. 27% can’t afford heating or cooling in even one room and 58% can’t pay utility bills on time.

A disturbing 7% of single parents who presented for Salvation Army Emergency Relief were homeless and a further 7% are living with friends or relatives.

The survey reveals:

  • Over a third (35%) cannot afford prescriptions after a doctor’s visit.
  • 51% have gone without meals (often in favour of their children).
  • 37% of children are missing out on school activities, annual dental checkups (39%) and new or up to date school books / uniforms (39%).

The survey indicates there has been a 12% rise in the number of people coming to The Salvation Army who are now receiving Newstart. “People are doing it really tough on Newstart,” said Dr Bruce Redman. “This, in turn, is impacting on children’s general wellbeing.”

“The current structures that support employment capacity do not seem to be working for many marginalised and disadvantaged people. For example, 39% surveyed have no computer skills. 41% of clients have felt it necessary to sell or pawn possessions, 53% have borrowed money from friends or family, and 23% have taken on new debt through credit cards and loans.”

Dr Redman said, “This survey provides a snapshot of the people needing help from The Salvation Army. The Salvos assist around one million Australians every year. The national target for the Red Shield Appeal Doorknock weekend is $10.2 million, which is a significant part of an overall Red Shield Appeal target of $79 million.”

To donate to the Red Shield Appeal call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or click here.

For further information or media comment please contact:

Dr Bruce Redman– Territorial Media Relations Director
The Salvation Army – Australia Southern Territory (Vic., SA, Tas., WA & NT)
Tel:     03 8878 2448
  0417 537 950
Email: bruce.redman@aus.salvationarmy.org