Supporting those experiencing poverty
At Churches of Christ we play a key role in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our community to end the poverty cycle through our Housing Services and Children, Youth and Families services.
According to the Anti-Poverty Week website, one in eight people in Australia, including one in six children, are living in poverty. Increasing cost of living pressures continue to put households under strain.
As many as 13.4 per cent of the population, (or 3.3 million people) and 16.6 per cent of children (or 761,000 kids) were living below the poverty line during the first year of the pandemic.
In Australia, the poverty line is generally defined as 50 per cent of the median household income, which is $457 a week for a single adult, $731 for a sole parent with two children or $960 for a couple with two children in 2017-18.
At least 116,000 Australians are homeless on any given night and 190,000 households are on waiting lists for social housing.
While poverty is about a lack of money, both income for now and savings or wealth, it is also be about not having a lot of other things―affordable housing or access to good education or health services. Those experiencing poverty often have to make difficult choices such as skipping meals to pay for a textbook or forgo heating or cooling their home to buy medications.
At Churches of Christ, we believe housing is a fundamental human right and we play a key role in addressing poverty by providing homes to people on low to moderate incomes that they can afford.
“A person cannot participate in community life, find employment or stabilise their circumstances without the security of a home,” Churches of Christ Executive Director - Children, Youth and Families and Housing Services, Mike Folland, said.
“As a tier one community housing provider we need to continue to commit to building more housing to alleviate the growing need in our communities. We currently manage more than 1200 social and affordable homes for more than 2000 Queenslanders―helping them build foundations for a brighter future.”
Access to affordable rental properties is vital for individuals and families to avoid poverty and homelessness. More than 2.65 million people, or over 1 million households, rented in the private market in 2018. Social housing has been unable to keep up with increased demand, which has risen due to a number of factors, including population growth, rental increases, increased housing prices and housing price increases and income levels not keeping pace with cost of living increases. This has led to a large increase in people on ow-incomes renting in the private market. Rental stress is usually defined as when housing costs are more than 30 per cent of the gross household income. Prior to the pandemic, around 40 per cent of Commonwealth Rent Assistance households were living in rental stress. (Anti-Poverty Week website).The level of CRA recipients in rental stress is currently at 46%. We have experienced increased pressure on our Housing Services as more and more people in rental stress seek social housing support.
Our Housing Services and Children Youth and Family Services deliver increased support to our clients via the following programs and services:
Our Housing Services Community Engagement Team support some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities through bringing essential services and healthcare to client’s doorsteps as part of its Neighbourhood Days model.
We partner with specialist support providers and community groups to connect our clients with employment support, healthcare services and mental health and wellbeing services to strengthen local communities.
Intensive Family Support Services
In Children, Youth and Families, our Intensive Family Support services work alongside families across Queensland to assist with a variety of needs including housing, household management, domestic and family violence, and parenting support.
With the support of our teams, families are able to find stability in housing, manage household budgets, ensure they receive health, education, and emotional support, and strive to achieve positive outcomes for children, young people and families.
Youth CONNECT Program
Our innovative Youth CONNECT program supports young people exiting statutory care who are homeless or at risk at homeless. It helps them to achieve stable housing, employment, education and work readiness and personal development―including cultural strength building.
For more information about Ant-Poverty Week and to find out more about poverty in Australia, visit https://antipovertyweek.org.au/.
For more information about our Social Housing services, click here.
For more information about our Family Support services, click here.
For more information about Youth CONNECT, click here.