When People are Forced to Skip Meals

When people are forced to skip meals, ignore medical needs, and send their children to school without breakfast, it not only costs them and their families, it costs the community and the econo- my.

These things are already happening in Victorian households and the economic climate means we can expect to see this happening more often. Emergency relief agencies, such as the Dingley Vil- lage Community Advice Bureau, are already reporting requests from more and more people who have never been in this situation before.

Emergency relief is not just about giving out a food parcel. People who suddenly nd themselves without a job, need information about concessions and subsidies, advocacy to deal with creditors and help to access micro nance loans and nancial counselling, they also need support and re- spect through the crisis.

It is estimated that 83% of people seeking emergency relief are nancially disadvantaged. Many are appealing for support as a result of credit debt. These are not necessarily people on welfare bene ts, but people who simply don’t earn enough to cover all the basic needs while servicing their debt.

The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research calculated an estimated “Poverty Line” each quarter. For a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children, this is $714.27 per week. The same family on welfare bene ts is receiving $623.69 per week. They are not able to manage their basic expenses, and approach welfare agencies such as the Dingley Village Community Advice Bureau for help.

Forecasters are warning us of the expected impact of the global nancial crisis. A report prepared by the Anglicare, Catholic Social Services, Uniting Care, and the Salvation Army provides us with disheartening information. There is deep concern that the impact of this crisis will impact most harshly on those Australians who are the least able to weather the gathering storm on their own.

The Dingley Village Community Advice Bureau with its team of committed volunteers, sta and committee members will continue their e orts to support all families in crisis who approach us for help.

Marion Harriden OAM Social Worker