When Ashlie lost her full-time job in her late 50s, she quickly found that the low rate of income support did not allow her to live decently.
“ I had to go without at least seven meals in order to afford a haircut. Seeing a medical specialist was now out of the question, let alone a dentist. I had a couple of friends who provided me with some food so I could pay my rent.”
In April 2020, Ashlie was unable to afford a private rental, and she became homeless. Since then, Ashlie has transitioned between emergency accommodation and staying with friends for short periods of time.
Ashlie’s story is familiar to so many people struggling to get by on income support. The punitively low rate of income support, along with skyrocketing rental costs, and a shortage of social and affordable housing, is creating financial distress and forcing people into homelessness.
As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it’s just not right that 1 in 6 of our children grow up in poverty, diminishing their lives now and in the future. If we’re going to ensure that people experiencing poverty and unemployment have the confidence to rebuild their lives, begin new careers and retrain and look for paid work, we need to improve the social safety net.
That’s why, in the lead up to Anti-Poverty Week which starts on 17 October, Everybody’s Home, Raise the Rate for Good, and Anti-Poverty Week are calling on the Federal Government to increase Jobseeker and other income support payments and invest in social housing so that everyone can cover the basics and keep a safe roof over their head.