Anti Poverty Week
Money problems don’t have to overwhelm you
Money talks – it can either help us to feel free, or it can make us feel trapped.
If money problems are making you feel trapped or overwhelmed, The Salvation Army is here for you. We are ready to have a conversation with you about your money and help you to rewrite your story.
Last financial year (2020/21), The Salvation Army provided over 54,000 financial counselling sessions to almost 13,000 people who were struggling with their finances. We also helped more than 121,600 people with emergency financial assistance (‘Anti-Poverty Week 2021’, The Salvation Army Research and Outcomes Measurement Team – PRSJ). With a rising cost of living and a global economic crisis affecting people’s financial security, we expect to help more Australians this year.
Whether you need help paying some unexpected bills, finding a way out of overwhelming debt, or making a budget for a more stable future – we can help.
Need help today?
If you or someone you know is facing a crisis, The Salvation Army is here to help. Scroll down for more information or use one of the links below to find support.
What is Anti-Poverty Week?
Anti-Poverty Week (17-23 October) is a national campaign, supported by a wide range of Australian charities, working to raise awareness of the financial struggles impacting many Australians.
The Salvation Army is committed to helping people who are struggling to overcome their financial stress and find hope for the future. We believe that taking preventative action around money problems early can help avoid deeper poverty and flow-on issues, including homelessness. If you are struggling, it is important to have conversations – ‘money talks’ – with your support group, loved ones, or a financial professional counsellor today. Learn more below.
Which Salvation Army financial support is right for you?
If you’re facing an immediate problem with money and need urgent financial assistance, we can help. If money problems are starting to overwhelm you, and you need a helping hand, we can help with that, too.
But which Salvation Army service do you contact first? What’s the difference? And what happens after you reach out? Find out more about Doorways (offering urgent financial help and follow-up) and Moneycare (offering financial counselling).
Learn more and find support
Take action this Anti-Poverty Week
Gaining money skills for life
Finding the courage to speak to a Moneycare counsellor and her family about financial stress gave Sophia help, hope and essential new budgeting skills.
Salvos Loans helping to rebuild lives
The Salvation Army’s Moneycare service has established an interest-free loan program for those escaping domestic and family violence.
Moneycare changes financial destiny
Heavily pregnant, Diya had recently escaped domestic and family violence. She then reached out for life-changing financial support.
Freedom from the spiral of financial hardship
Independent and hardworking, June suffered health issues, loss of job, and could not afford to eat as she struggled to pay rent.
Poverty in Australia
What is poverty?
Poverty in Australia is defined as having a lack of money both for immediate essentials and for long-term savings or wealth. People experiencing poverty are forced to make difficult decisions such as skipping a meal to afford medication, not heating or cooling their home in extreme weather, or avoiding social situations such as work functions, children’s birthday parties or school excursions.
There are over three million Australians living in poverty (ACOSS and UNSW ‘Poverty in Australia’). That’s one in eight people living below the poverty line. The poverty line in Australia is generally defined as 50 per cent of median household income. In 2017-2018, this was $457 a week for a single adult, $731 for a sole parent with two children or $960 for a couple with two children.
Every day, The Salvation Army serves people experiencing poverty and financial hardship. Recent research into Salvation Army clients accessing emergency assistance (that is, help with life’s essentials) in November 2020 to January 2021, revealed a single person was left with $7.50 per day to live on, after paying housing costs.
Households relying mostly on social security payments are around five times more likely to experience poverty (36 per cent) than those relying mainly on wages and salaries (seven per cent). This indicates a need for more government support for people who are unable to work due to factors such as disability, illness or age.
The Salvation Army has been actively advocating increases to the rate of the JobSeeker Payment for many years, as well as other necessary income supports. Learn more about our advocacy.
How does poverty impact children and families?
According to ‘No Child …’ Child Poverty in Australia, a paper produced by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, childhood poverty has “detrimental effects”. It can mean children missing out on normal activities – including social and educational activities – and the lack of a secure home. Child poverty can impact child development and health and “have long-term consequences for education, employment and economic security as adults”.
Child poverty can look like going to school or bed hungry, being unable to join a local sports team with their friends, missing out on Christmas presents, not receiving medications or medical treatment, only wearing second-hand clothes, and witnessing the mental stress of a caregiver.
Of the families helped by The Salvation Army’s emergency financial services in November 2020 to January 2021, 47 per cent reported they had just enough money for basic items, but nothing extra.
Many academics have researched the effects of child and family poverty. Low-Income and Poverty Dynamics – Implications for Child Outcomes produced by the Department of Social Services in 2017 found children who had been in persistent poverty until the age of eight or nine were over three times more likely to be at risk of “clinically significant problems” compared to children who had never experienced poverty (27 per cent compared to eight per cent). Children in poverty are also more likely to be under-nourished, fall behind at school, leave school early or struggle to transition to the workforce.
Child poverty in Australia is particularly prevalent among sole-parent families. Of the clients helped by The Salvation Army’s emergency financial services in November 2020 to January 2021, 23 per cent were sole-parent families. This is almost double the number of sole-parent families in the Australian population. This indicates a need for more government financial support for sole-parent families.
Read more about The Salvation Army’s work with community members who access our emergency financial services in the Making Ends Meet 2021 report.