• The SJC Team

Affordable housing essential to avoid poverty

This week is anti-poverty week in Australia which seeks to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship and encourages research, discussion and action by individuals, communities and government.

There are many reasons why people experience economic hardship which can lead to homelessness, but one of the main reasons is housing. Housing plays a major role in the health and wellbeing of Australians by providing shelter, safety, security and privacy. We all deserve a place to call and feel home.

If you are on a Centrelink benefit without affordable or public housing, people find themselves below the poverty line. Therefore, to avoid poverty, people need to supplement their benefit with other income. For most people this isn’t possible, so consequences of homelessness, poor health and isolation arise.

Statistics show that between the census in 2011 and 2016 “life became harder for all families owing to housing stress and labour market changes”. In 2016, nearly 35% of children living in areas where the risk of social exclusion was high, lived in families experiencing housing stress.

At St John’s Care we often come across people who, up until recently, were living a moderate-income lifestyle. Take Bob as an example. He was employed in a well-paid job, was living with his girlfriend in her apartment and had a good social life. He experienced good mental health and general wellbeing.

He was made redundant and within two months of that happening, he had separated from his girlfriend and lost his home. Because he doesn’t come from Canberra, he had no family members or close friends that could support him. Coupled with this, he had no income as it often takes a few weeks to receive Centrelink payments. He was living on the streets and his mental health was becoming progressively worse.

Bob found out about St John’s Care and visited the Centre where he was met with kindness and compassion from the volunteers. He was given something to eat, received some bedding and clothes and was able to speak with the Community Worker.

He was referred to OneLink that provided a raft of support services to assist him. He was eventually allocated public housing which was the beginning of his journey to recovery. Bob still comes into St John’s Care to say hello and pick up some food as he hasn’t yet managed to find a job. Finding accommodation has meant that his life has meaning again.

People such as Bob can receive food and other financial support because of the incredible generosity of those who support St John’s Care. With this in mind, we are having a Trivia Night on Saturday 3rd November, 7pm at St Johns Church Hall to raise funds. Please see the flyer opposite for details.

Wish list: Christmas puddings, shampoo and conditioner, 1kg bags of flour

Kind regards,

St John’s Care Team

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