Huge rise in demand for charity support

by Rev. Bill Crews 24 Apr 2024

My Foundation has reported a huge rise in demand for its food, housing and healthcare support services.

We have been providing support to the homeless and disadvantaged for almost 40 years, but the need now is unprecedented.

In March this year we served 41,544 meals to hungry Sydneysiders. In addition, we gave 2,073 food hampers to people who couldn’t afford to feed their families. Our caring case workers completed 158 appointments with people requiring extra support. While our medical team did 149 conusultations with those who were unable to pay for even the most basic of healthcare.

I’ve never seen such high demand for our frontline services. While a small portion of the rise in demand for my charity’s services can be attributed to natural increases, most comes from those who once would not have required support. A new cohort of people have found themselves unable to make ends meet.

Among them are people who have low incomes, either from casualised jobs or welfare support like the JobSeeker Payment.

Women escaping domestic violence are a particularly vulnerable and increasing cohort. In addition, my Foundation has noted a rise in the number of rough sleepers seeking support.

The majority of the cohort who’ve turned to my Foundation for support in the last 12 months have done so because they were unable to afford basics like food and housing.

Anecdotal evidence from those we support suggests the cost-of-living crisis is having a broad impact on society; and hitting certain groups particularly hard. Indeed, I am concerned it may be having a deeper and more profound impact than the 1990’s recession.