Our community’s most vulnerable citizens are living without the financial stability required to access education, achieve general health standards and improve their quality of living.
Whilst unemployment statistics have held steady over the last few years, under-employment has been sitting at a record high and growing. Earlier this year (2018) there were over 1.3 million unemployed Australians and an additional 1.2 million people under-employed and looking for additional work (1).
Long term unemployment and underemployment is highly linked to unstable housing situations and quality of living. In WA, rates of homelessness and rough sleepers are increasingly on the rise with around 9,000 people on the streets each night and another 7,000 in insecure housing situations (2).
Those experiencing homelessness are faced with a myriad of problems such as poor health and a lack of access to healthcare services, higher rates of assault and sexual assault and higher interactions with the justice system. In addition to the vast detrimental impact to these individual’s quality of life, there are also large social and economic costs to our society as a whole.
However, our country’s current intervention programs are overwhelmed, with reports showing that 20% of people spend over 5 years on the Housing Authority wait list (3).
Additionally, whilst many programs tackling these issues focus on housing, the problem is far more complex, requiring a collaborative community approach including counselling, drug and alcohol services, employment services, health and rehabilitation services and legal assistance.
Recent collaborative initiatives such as 50 Lives, 50 Homes and the Alliance to End Homelessness are having greater success in making a dent in this state crisis.
At United Way WA we choose to #liveunited by working closely with other providers in the sector in a coordinated approach for more sustainable solutions. Working with our corporate and community partners we deliver a range of intervention and collaborative initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for those experiencing financial instability and homelessness.
Our community will only prosper and grow if all families are financially stable leading to healthier lives, improved work performance, and better educational outcomes.
ARTICLE PUBLISHED 09/11/18 BY RIKKI STEWART
Rikki is a fundraising, marketing and community engagement guru and current member of the United Way WA team.