Vinnies WA has recorded a significant increase in the number of families seeking help. Recent data shows that while Vinnies supported 1,458 families through its Emergency Assistance and Support program in the month of January, that number rose to 2,287 in September.
The new figures suggest that the winding back of Federal and State Government support measures are having a significant impact on families trying to stay afloat.
While factors such as tax refunds can cause the numbers of families seeking help to drop at various points throughout the year, the new data suggests more and more people are reaching out for help, with the number of calls to Vinnies also on the rise.
Federal Government support payments Jobkeeper and the Jobseeker COVID-19 supplement ended in late March, the same time that the State Government’s moratorium on rental evictions ended. The State Government’s freeze on household fees and charges and the moratorium on electricity disconnections ended in late June.
According to Vinnies’ data, the most impacted areas in Perth were Armadale, Midland, Joondalup and Rockingham, while in the regions Mandurah and Geraldton were particularly affected.
Families struggled to pay their water and power bills as well as increases in rent of up to $100 per week. With little money left for other expenses, Vinnies helps families with food, utilities, accommodation support and vehicle costs.
Andrew York, Executive Manager of Community Engagement Services at Vinnies WA, said the situation was concerning.
“We expected that the numbers of people seeking emergency assistance and support would go up with the end of the rental moratorium and end of the freeze on household fees and charges, and now we’re seeing it play out,” he said.
Vinnies is Western Australia’s leading provider of emergency assistance and support. It also provides free financial counselling, services for adults and young people experiencing homelessness, as well as mental health and housing services.
While many West Australians will celebrate the festive season with family and friends, there are countless families facing the prospect of a bleak Christmas as they struggle to pay their bills, provide food and gifts for their children, or worse, find somewhere safe to call home.
That’s why every year, Vinnies WA asks the community for support with its annual Christmas Appeal.
Only with the support of the WA community can Vinnies ensure many families across Western Australia will wake on Christmas morning with the renewed sense of hope and dignity that everyone deserves.
To donate and help make a positive difference in these young people’s lives, visit www.vinnieswa.org.au or call 13 18 12.