THE demand for people in Warrnambool needing help from charity groups has increased three-fold with low income families falling below the poverty line.
Anglicare chief executive Paul McDonald told The Standard that in the past 10 years the number of people needing help per year had risen from 500 to 1500 in Warrnambool and the surrounding district.
Mr McDonald’s visit to the south-west was part of Warrnambool Anglicare’s annual general meeting on Thursday night.
“There is a greater demand for emergency relief aid,” he said.
“For Warrnambool in particular there has been a rising increase into emergency aid relief.
“In the last 10 years we have seen it increased three-fold.”
Mr McDonald said the type of assistance needed had now changed from people who would have once required a one-off payment to ongoing support. “These are low income people in deep financial stress,” he said.
“If a child needs braces or the car breaks down or the fridge stops working. What we’re seeing is people on those low incomes who are unable to absorb those costs.”
Anglicare’s recent hardship survey had shown 85 per cent of those surveyed had at one point sought emergency relief.
“They didn’t have a buffer of $500 in the bank if something went wrong,” he said.
“If you’re caught up in debt traps, aside from everything else, it’s no good emotionally for those families.
“Two adults and two children on New Start are sitting way below the poverty line.
“There are silent stresses going in family homes.
“Rural and regional families do look out for each other and there is no doubt some of your readers would know people experiencing this.”