Our alarm­ing poverty lev­els

Kyabram Free Press - - NEWS -

From page 1

In Kyabram and dis­trict, 7 per cent of those em­ployed full-time were liv­ing in poverty, 9 per cent of those em­ployed part-time were liv­ing in poverty and 50 per cent of those un­em­ployed were liv­ing in poverty.

Ms Sav­age said it was not as sim­ple as just get­ting a job and not liv­ing in poverty. She also said the min­i­mum wage was not suf­fi­cient to pro­vide the re­sources nec­es­sary to live above the poverty line.

“Get­ting a job and en­ter­ing the process is ob­vi­ously a good start, how­ever not all peo­ple with a job are able to cover all ex­penses they re­quire.

Ms Sav­age named five ‘driv­ers’ of poverty, in­clud­ing hous­ing, work and in­come, ed­u­ca­tion, health and avail­able ser­vices.

“Cur­rently in our re­gion there is a short­age of hous­ing avail­able for peo­ple,” she said.

“The low num­ber of houses and rentals is re­sult­ing in many peo­ple be­ing home­less who are con­nected to the area and not able or will­ing to move due to the lack of con­nec­tion and or sup­port they would have in an al­ter­na­tive set­ting.

“A lack of af­ford­able hous­ing im­pacts on a per­son’s abil­ity to find work, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, as such op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist largely in re­gions and cities with high hous­ing prices and rental rates.

Ms Sav­age said the cy­cle of low ed­u­ca­tion lev­els can be linked to un­em­ploy­ment and, con­se­quently, the risk of liv­ing in poverty.

“Fam­i­lies with low lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion of­ten can­not af­ford to of­fer their chil­dren the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete school or higher qual­i­fi­ca­tions.’’

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Sav­age, the slip­pery slope of poverty and home­less­ness can of­ten lead to greater lev­els of phys­i­cal and men­tal ill­ness.

She said one of the key strate­gies to pre­vent poverty is im­prov­ing ac­cess to af­ford­able com­mu­nity ser­vices.

“Th­ese ser­vices are un­der strain in Kyabram,” she said.

“We have a chal­lenge se­cur­ing the fund­ing re­quired to have ser­vices travel from Bendigo to as­sist our com­mu­nity in Kyabram.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Sav­age, de­spite the strain on ser­vices, there are many peo­ple in Kyabram work­ing to sup­port peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing poverty.

“Peo­ple can vol­un­teer to sup­port ini­tia­tives op­er­at­ing in­clud­ing; show­ers avail­able for pub­lic use at the youth hall, com­mu­nity meal at KCLC, com­mu­nity meal at St An­drews Church, Donate and vol­un­teer to St Vin­nies, Sal­va­tion Army, KCLC to as­sist in sup­port­ing peo­ple in need, donate to Christ­mas Ap­peals, coat drives in win­ter, food re­lief drives that are all held through­out the year to sup­port lo­cal fam­i­lies,” she said.

“Cur­rently KCLC pro­vides food ham­pers to fam­i­lies and pro­vide free food at the front of KCLC, do­nated cloth­ing is also avail­able here.’’

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