Facing poverty in a difficult year

The impacts of poverty are broad and can influence housing, health, education, relationships, mental health outcomes and access to social services.

While organisations like Anglicare NT have long advocated for increased financial support, the Coronavirus pandemic has put the issue of poverty and access to safe accommodation, support systems and life’s necessities at centre stage.

The events of this year have made us all reflect more deeply on the level of poverty in Australia and how our community copes in the face of increased financial hardships and a global pandemic.

Importantly, there are practical solutions to reducing poverty which governments can focus on right now. The temporary JobSeeker increase lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty, allowing them to buy essential goods and adequate food while also benefiting the economy.It is essential that the Federal Government raise the rate of benefits permanently.

The pandemic has also highlighted the urgent need for more affordable housing. Anglicare Australia’s annual Rental Affordability Snapshot found that even with the Coronavirus Supplement there were almost no affordable properties for singles on the JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance in the Northern Territory.

The private rental market is failing people on low incomes with many households not able to afford appropriate housing. There are zero properties suitable for single people on the Disability Support Pension or sole parents on Parenting Payment across the Territory.

Anglicare NT’s housing and homelessness services support Territorians to find safe accommodation, create community connections and live a full life. Our financial inclusion staff work with people to navigate money worries, build financial resilience, plan for the future and access no or low interest loans. We also offer counselling, mediation and support services for children, young people and families.

Employment opportunities and real jobs are vital to lift people permanently out of poverty. Government attempts to create employment have been successful, but we also need a safety net and a living wage for all Australians so that those unable to work or still seeking employment can have the necessities for a good life.

Anglicare NT works in partnership with individuals, families and communities across the Northern Territory to meets needs, address disadvantage and create opportunities.