Salvation Army statistics reveal shock extent of poverty

ALARMING statistics released by the Salvation Army this week have prompted calls for both sides of politics make poverty an issue at the Federal Election.

The charity's annual Economic and Social Impact Survey found 68% of Salvation Army clients were experiencing extreme housing stress.

Nearly one in five were homeless, while 40% had moved house an average of three times in 12 months.

Salvation Army communications and fundraising secretary Major Bruce Harmer said the findings of the report were a bleak picture of life for Australians on the breadline.

"We cannot keep putting a band-aid on disadvantage," he said.

"Too many regional Australians are hurting badly."

The survey found some clients on Newstart were scraping through on $15 a day after paying for their accommodation.

Children were also suffering according to the survey, with 60% of respondents unable to afford internet connection for their children.

One in five couldn't afford medical treatment or medication for their children.

Two in five couldn't afford a yearly dental check up for their child.

Maj Harmer said children were hugely impacted by moving house multiple times a year and moving schools.

"We see very clearly from this research that many children are at significant risk of social exclusion because of generational poverty, unemployment and housing instability," he said.

The results of the 1600-people survey were utterly shameful, according to Maj Harmer.

"It shows the real level of struggle taking place in our 'lucky country'," he said.

"We need serious funding to develop innovative solutions to the complex issues of entrenched poverty.

"Now, more than ever, it's time for Australia to reclaim our great Aussie spirit of neighbours who care for their neighbours."

The Salvation Army is calling on Australians to support its 2016 Red Shield Appeal, with a nationwide doorknock this weekend.

"We need the support of Australians through the Red Shield Appeal in order to open up more beds for families in need and to implement early intervention and innovating social enterprise schemes so that people in poverty can break the cycle," he said.

Donations to the Red Shield Appeal can be made through the Westpac Bank or at salvos.org.au/donate.

All donations to the Red Shield Appeal are tax deductible.



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