A shocking 86% of Australians are currently facing extreme housing stress by paying more than half of their income on housing, the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Research 2021 report has revealed.
The extreme pressure of housing costs at an unprecedented high means that people on government support payments are left with $11 a day, and those on minimum wage are left with only a measly $4 a day.
Salvation Army public relations secretary ACT, Major Wendy Hateley, said the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the Australian community with the impacts being “absolutely devastating”.
“The past year has shown us that anyone can find themselves in crisis, and this has manifested in the Salvos seeing people we have never seen before coming to us for support,” Major Hateley said.
The report highlights that the most vulnerable in the community are struggling to not only pay for housing, but also necessities such as food, medications and medical appointments.
During lockdown across Australia, 87% of Australians found it difficult to meet basic housing needs, and post-lockdown, the situation remains the same for an overwhelming 73%.
Over the past 12 months, 45% of Australians have been going without meals, 53% can’t afford medical or dental treatment, and 30% can’t afford their home internet connection, which impacts their ability to work or learn from home.
In the ACT last year, the Salvation Army assisted more than 1,400 people with emergency relief, offering more than 2,400 sessions of care to people in need.
“With housing stress in this country being at such a high, we are seeing more people becoming homeless. Furthermore, in what is a very lucky country, it is shocking to see almost 50% of people skipping meals and more not able to afford medicines,” Major Hateley said.
The research also showed 59% of respondents reporting poor mental health during lockdown, with 40% raising concerns about their mental health post-lockdown – this is significantly up from the 23% reporting poor mental health before lockdown.
“The reality is we cannot do what we do without the generous support of the Aussie public. To help us leave no one in need, please consider donating to this year’s Red Shield Appeal,” Major Hateley said.
Now in its 56th year, the Red Shield Appeal is the Salvos’ flagship fundraising appeal which aims to raise $32 million to fund more than 2,000 centres and services across Australia.
To donate to the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal, or if you need support from the Salvos, visit salvationarmy.org.au or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).