2014 National Economic and Social Impact Survey
We surveyed 2,485 Salvation Army clients across 237 emergency relief services earlier this year.
The results paint a harrowing snapshot of the realities of daily life for people living on the
margins. We found many people are struggling to afford basic necessities for themselves and their
- one in four is unable to afford a substantial meal once a day;
- half of respondents go without meals, often so their children can eat;
- 62% have cut back on basic necessities;
- 28% said they have had to live without heating at least one room in the house throughout winter;
- 38% of participants do not have regular social contact with people leading to a feeling of isolation and loneliness; and
- 47% are unable to find someone to turn to for help when needed.
A disturbing 8% of single parents and their children were homeless.
We released this report in the lead up to the annual Red Shield Appeal in May to increase awareness
of the plight of vulnerable Australians.
Read the ESIS report here.
We met Melinda at a Salvation Army emergency relief centre in Melbourne’s inner west. Melinda’s
story is like many who access our services day-to-day. She is a single parent of two children under six, receives welfare payments, but doesn’t want to ask her ex-partner for money.
“I’m here at the Salvos today because I’m out of food and I have nothing left after paying bills.
Normally I can get by, but I just struggled this month. Everything came at once—gas, electricity, rent, school fees. None of it could be delayed without me getting charged late fees. They were threatening to disconnect. I’m stressing because there isn’t anything left.”
Melinda is a trained nurse, but can’t work because she’s injured. An operation to address her
condition is continually bumped down the list because it isn’t deemed ‘critical’. She heard about Salvos emergency relief through a friend.
“The Salvos have been fantastic. They actually help out in a really practical way. They gave me vouchers, which will get me through two weeks of groceries.”
“I’m glad I came today. I feel a lot better and less worried. It’s such a basic thing to be able to feed your family and your kids, and when you can’t it just feels awful. I’m so glad I came.”