Surge in Australians sinking into extreme poverty amid cost-of-living crisis, Salvation Army research reveals

Surge in Australians sinking into extreme poverty amid cost-of-living crisis, Salvation Army research reveals

Vulnerable Australians living on less than $6 a day, with 9 in 10 respondents fighting to afford basic necessities

Tens of thousands of Australians are continuing to plunge into extreme poverty, with vulnerable households turning to desperate measures to cope.

New research has revealed that in the past 12 months, 93% of respondents who reached out to The Salvation Army for support were struggling to afford basic living necessities. This means that after paying for essential living costs, such as housing, food, utilities, health and fuel, the typical respondent is living on less than $6 a day to spend or save for other expenses.

More than 1700 Australians who have used The Salvation Army’s services over the past 12
months were surveyed for the charity’s report.

The research, released to coincide with The Salvation Army’s annual Red Shield Appeal, also found half of respondents (50%) cannot afford essential healthcare, 52% are skipping meals to save money and 75% are experiencing housing stress.

“Everyone is doing it tough at the moment but for those who were already struggling, the cost-ofliving crisis is making it almost impossible for them to survive without help,” Salvation Army Secretary for Mission, Captain Stuart Glover, said.

“We have seen a significant increase in everyday Australians who have fallen through the cracks over the last year. In many instances, we are seeing those who used to volunteer or donate money and time to help the Salvos now coming to us for help.”

Households with children were often the hardest hit from financial pressures. Three-quarters of these households are living below the poverty line. Nearly one in four cannot afford to take their child to see a doctor or a dentist and one in five are unable to provide them with three meals a day.

Many parents spoke of the sheer desperation they were experiencing due to rising housing costs and inflation at the checkout.

“I have lost 40 kilograms in the last nine months because all my money goes on keeping a roof over my kids’ heads and trying to keep them in a safe place,” one 55-year-old mother told The Salvation Army. Another parent, 29, said: “I eat the leftover food from my child’s meal, if there is any, or I just don’t eat.”

She added, “I wait at the school car park from drop-off until pick-up if I’m short on fuel. I have sold most of my own clothing to buy my children clothes.”

But despite the hurdles many Australians are currently facing, Captain Glover said The Salvation Army was always there for people during times of crisis.

He urged Australians to dig deep to support the Red Shield Appeal, noting that nearly 90% of
respondents said they would not have managed financially without the support of The Salvation Army.

This year’s appeal aims to raise $37 million to help fund over 2000 services across

“The need is greater than ever before,” Captain Glover said. “And for many Australians who are doing it tough, the Salvos are often their last line of defence. We will always be there to give them a hand, whatever their circumstances may be, so that nobody has to struggle alone.

“With your support, The Salvation Army will help thousands of people to get back on their feet this year and give them hope for a better future.”

You can donate to the Red Shield Appeal online here, If you need support from the Salvos, visit or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58). You can also donate at any Salvos Store.

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