17 October 2021

Anti-Poverty Week commences on 17 October, and Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn is calling for all governments to reduce poverty in the ACT by investing in social housing and increasing income support.  

In the ACT alone, there are 26,500 people, including 9,000 children currently living below the poverty line.   

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn CEO, Michelle Colefax said “the current base rate of income support of $44 a day means that families are forced to choose between everyday essentials – such as accessing nutritious food, paying rent and utility bills on time, or buying school uniforms.”   

Many of these families are also at risk of homelessness due to a shortage of affordable housing, with more than 12,000 households in the ACT receiving inadequate Commonwealth Rent Assistance in June 2021.     

“For too many people, a safe and secure home is simply out of reach. A home is not just a roof over one’s head. A home provides safety, security, a sense of belonging and a place for children and young people to build a future.    

Over the past year, Vinnies has supported more than 40,000 vulnerable people and responded to requests for assistance with basic necessities like food, travel, clothing or support with utility bills in Canberra and the surrounding region. This need is only growing.   

Food insecurity for single parent families was by far the greatest issue, with over one third of requests responded to being for food assistance during the year.  

For the recent June to August 2021 period, our Vinnies Helpline received a 62% increase in the number of requests for assistance, compared to the same period last year. 

Poverty exists, it hurts us all and we can all do something about it. This Anti-Poverty Week, Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn will be encouraging the Federal Government to increase Jobseeker and other income support payments and invest in social housing to ensure families have food on the table and a roof over their head,” Ms Colefax said. 

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn as part of its membership of the Anti-Poverty Week Executive Committee led by ACTCOSS and Woden Community Service, is collaborating with peer community organisations to provide information and activities to support Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT and surrounding region from 17-23 October.  

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn will be asking Canberrans to reflect on and discuss the poverty and disadvantage on our own doorstep, and what we can do to make a change.    

To find out more or get involved, visit https://www.actcoss.org.au/news-events/anti-poverty-week-2021.  

Media contact: Claire Toepfer claire.toepfer@vinnies.org.au or 0447 227 086