The number of people seeking help for basics such as food and housing is increasing every year, according to Uniting Wyndham.
In the lead-up to Anti-Poverty Week (October 13-19) staff from the support and housing organisation spoke of the rising demand.
Housing co-ordinator Deb Gorsuch said 5046 people had reached out to Uniting Wyndham in the 2015-16 financial year, that grew to 6747 people in 2016-17 and 7529 in 2017-18.
“It’s just getting higher and higher,” she said.
Mrs Gorsuch said the municipality’s population growth, high rate of births, family violence and lack of affordable housing all contributed to the demand for assistance.
She said their clients were often on Centrelink benefits, the most common being single adults or single-parent families with a child aged eight or below, who were receiving $604.70 per fortnight in the form of the Newstart Allowance. Many clients spent 55 per cent or more of their income on rent.
“There is a significant demand for housing, and a lot of single people on Newstart who can’t afford private rental – and so in the meantime they are either sleeping rough, on someone’s couch or sharing,” she said.
Uniting Wyndham’s volunteer programs co-ordinator Shelley Johnston said that on a daily basis, anywhere from two to 35 people in Werribee requested a food parcel.
The organisation relies mainly on state and federal government funding.
“We see an increase [in people seeking assistance] every year, but … we’re not getting an increase in funding,” Ms Johnston said.
Uniting Wyndham recently cut its food parcel service from five days per week to four because of a lack of funding.