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Meeting community needs in difficult times: experiences of Australia’s community sector

Low socioeconomic status Community sector Poverty Community services Homelessness Australia

Australian communities, and the community service organisations that support them, remain under pressure amidst expectations of increasing poverty and homelessness in 2021.

This report examines how Australia’s community services sector is addressing high levels of need in the community during early 2021, a period in which Australian communities sought to recover from the crises of 2020. These crises began with severe bushfires followed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and are not yet resolved. They have exacerbated the very high levels of poverty and inequality which successive governments have allowed to accumulate over decades.

Key findings:

  • Leaders are observing very high levels of disadvantage and demand in 2021
  • People are experiencing significant economic hardship
  • Mental health services are under strain
  • There has been inadequate investment in responding to domestic and family violence
  • Meeting need for housing and homelessness services are key priorities
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