“I can’t continue to live like this”

National economic and social impact survey 2015
Poverty Charities Homelessness Emergency housing Food relief Social security Financial inclusion Australia

Executive Summary

This Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) 2015 is the fourth consecutive report by The Salvation Army exploring the levels of deprivation and disadvantage experienced by those who access Emergency Relief (ER) services. Nationally, The Salvation Army operates an extensive network of emergency relief centres, corps, social programs and employment services to deliver comprehensive and inclusive responses to individuals and communities who experience disadvantage. The Salvation Army is one of the largest providers of Emergency Relief (ER) services in Australia, and provides a safety net for many who are struggling to make ends meet.

Each year The Salvation Army contributes approximately $20 million of internally generated funds to its Emergency Relief services. Annually, The Salvation Army provides ER to nearly 160,000 distinct clients across Australia and delivers over 320,000 episodes of ER support.

ESIS 2015 provides a detailed analysis of 2,406 responses to the survey distributed through 262 Salvation Army ER and community support services across Australia during February 2015.

The results from the study reveal a bleak picture of entrenched and persistent poverty and disadvantage for a significant proportion of people who access Salvation Army ER and support services. Individuals and their families struggle to meet everyday expenses, essential items and financial commitments.

This ESIS report provides a voice to those most disadvantaged and disenfranchised within our communities, and advocates for a more just and equitable approach to addressing the needs and disadvantage experienced by many. This year, our research highlighted the dire circumstances and experiences of a number of specific groups. These included:

  • Individuals and families experiencing housing stress and homelessness
  • Individuals and families experiencing financial hardship
  • Individuals and families in receipt of income support (in particular Newstart allowance, Disability Support Pension

    and Parenting payments)

  • Single person households
  • Adults and children affected by poverty and multiple deprivations.

ESIS 2015 illustrates that these struggling groups continue to experience ongoing levels of disadvantage and poverty.
These marginalised and disenfranchised individuals and families are of deep concern to The Salvation Army.

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