Stats show poverty is grow­ing prob­lem

Head of not-for-profit says is­sue in­creas­ingly im­pacts on chil­dren

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Marissa Ge­or­gopou­los

THE num­ber of chil­dren fac­ing poverty in the Mt Druitt re­gion is in­creas­ing, ex­perts say.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of not-for­profit Black­town-based Marist Youth Care Cate Sy­des said the re­al­ity was that over the past decade the strug­gle to over­come poverty “has got­ten worse”.

“We’re see­ing a new group of peo­ple aris­ing in the poverty area which are sin­gle par­ents,” Ms Sy­des said.

“The gen­der pay gap is in­creas­ing be­tween fe­males and males ... that im­pacts sig­nif­i­cantly on child poverty.”

Ms Sy­des con­firmed child poverty had be­come more se­ri­ous, sup­port­ing find­ings of a re­port re­leased dur­ing Anti-Poverty Week by the Aus­tralian Council of So­cial Ser­vice which stated 17.4 per cent of chil­dren in Aus­tralia were liv­ing in poverty — a 2 per cent in- crease in the 10 years to 2014.

The re­port also stated chil­dren from lone-par­ent fam­i­lies were most at-risk, with num­bers in­creas­ing from 36.8 to 40.6 per cent.

“Fam­i­lies are al­ready at cri­sis point so (the pop­u­la­tion) needs the State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments to work to­gether for a so­lu­tion rather than do­ing piece­meal work,” Ms Sy­des said, add- ing the cost of hous­ing was the most chal­leng­ing fac­tor.

She said the or­gan­i­sa­tion had been met with “enor­mous” num­bers re­cently.

“Last year, our youth home­less­ness ser­vices saw the largest group they’ve ever seen, 480 young peo­ple ... in the last three months we’ve seen 207 cases of young peo­ple al­ready home­less or at risk of home­less­ness,” Ms Sy­des said.

Ms Sy­des said while the Mt Druitt re­gion had its chal­lenges, it also had “some re­ally fan­tas­tic kids” that wanted to get ahead and em­ploy­ers who wanted to sup­port them.

She said while fund­ing cuts from the State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment needed to be looked at, a pri­or­ity had to be a wrap­around of ser­vices and eas­ing the pain felt by fam­i­lies.

The num­ber of home­less is ris­ing around Aus­tralia.

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