Keeping the lights on this Christmas

It is increasingly difficult for people on low incomes, JobSeeker, disability support, aged-care pensions or single parents to manage cost of living expenses.

Our Cost of Living programs assist people who cannot afford household bills or achieve what most people would call a ‘decent’ standard of living. Our programs include advocating to utility or credit providers and assistance to access utility discounts; emergency financial support; paying medical or pharmacy costs; no interest loans; energy market monitoring and advocacy; financial counselling.

2022-2023  |  $6.5M OF CARE PROVIDED

2022-2023 Cost of Living statistics

Amid the ever-rising tide of expenses, Victorian families, including those with young children, find themselves in an increasingly precarious situation.

According to a recent ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Services) report*:

  • 73% of people surveyed cut back on heating or cooling their homes;
  • 62% cut back on using lights;
  • 60% experienced difficulty affording the medicine or medical care they needed.

In this challenging economic landscape, our Cost of Living program becomes a beacon of hope, taking the pressure off people and families grappling with costs associated with attaining a 'decent' standard of living, such keeping a roof overhead or the lights on, accessing necessary medication or even having regular warm showers.

No child should know about the cost of living

As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, Christmas takes on a different tone for families like Anna’s**. The joy of the season is overshadowed by the anxiety of providing even a basic meal.

Many vulnerable families, pushed to the brink of homelessness, grapple with constant stress. Anna faces tough choices, deciding between essentials like school uniforms and rising electricity bills. For families like hers across Australia, the only Christmas wish is putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their kids' heads.

We believe that no child should bear the burden of understanding the complexities of the cost of living. Our Cost of Living program strives to assist people who cannot afford basic household bills or achieve what many consider a 'decent' standard of living – ensuring no child bears the weight of understanding the difficulties of financial struggles during what should be a joyful time.

Rising costs, rising support: How Vinnies helps

The soaring cost of living has hit hard over the past year, with rent, mortgage rates, utilities and essential services skyrocketing. This surge has prompted a notable increase in individuals seeking assistance from our services. Even those with jobs are struggling to make ends meet.

Last financial year, Vinnies spent $6.4m on assisting Victorians with cost-of-living expenses, including medical costs, paying for household items and utility bills.

To offer both short- and long-term relief, we provide free financial counselling, capability programs and nationally recognised tariff-tracking reports to save on energy bills. Our strong reputation enables us to advocate and lobby for systemic changes, aiming to alleviate the financial strain faced by our community.

How you can help

You have the power to make a difference.

Consider donating to our Vinnies Christmas Appeal if you are in a position to contribute or volunteer your time to help alleviate the harsh realities faced by countless individuals today.

Together, we can cushion the impact of the rising cost of living, ensuring that hope and assistance reach people – and families – who need it most.

*ACOSS research surveyed 270 people living on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance & Parenting Payment, July/August 2023.
**First name only used to protect the person’s identity.