More Hume residents are living in poverty than in any other Victorian municipality, according to a new report.
The Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) and economic modelling firm NATSEM recently released their Every Suburb, Every Town report, revealing that 38,500 Hume residents – or 22 per cent of the population – are living in poverty.
The report defined the poverty line as living on $353.45 a week.
Of Hume residents living in poverty, 78 per cent are families with dependent children.
Craigieburn had the highest level of poverty, with about 7800 residents living below the poverty line.
In Roxburgh Park, 4400 people are living in poverty, while 3200 Broadmeadows residents are experiencing poverty.
In Whittlesea, 31,300 people (17 per cent) are living in poverty.
In Lalor, 3800 people are living in poverty, while 3500 Thomastown residents are experiencing poverty.
VCOSS chief executive Emma King said the outer-western, northern and south-eastern suburbs were the “face of poverty”.
“Poverty is everywhere and looks different everywhere,” she said.
Ms King said that in Hume and Whittlesea, 20 per cent and 25 per cent of residents experiencing poverty, respectively, had full-time or part-time jobs.
“They just can’t get enough hours or are paid too little to make ends meet,” she said.
Uniting Vic Tas, the community service arm of the Uniting Church, said its Broadmeadows office provided financial counselling to 918 people in 2017-18.
Financial inclusion and community development manager Casey O’Brien said 78 people received micro-finance loans and 43 people received energy support to help with the cost of living.
“The cost of renting is going up,” he said. “Wages have deteriorated and people are increasingly finding the only job they can get is casual and part-time.
“The knock-on effect is that people simply can’t afford to buy food or pay their bills.”