Anti-Poverty Week is a national campaign that has been running for 18 years and this year, the message is targeted to increase understanding and encourage action to eliminate the issue for the more than 3.24 million Australians living under the poverty line.
Anti-Poverty Week is held this week (11 – 17 October 2020) and various organisations including Communicare, have come together to play a collective part in spreading awareness that demands a federal response.
This campaign supports affordable housing for all as the best solution to reducing poverty and is partnering with the Everybody's Home campaign which aims to ensure all Australians have a roof over their head. It also continues to support the Raise the Rate campaign led by ACOSS to ensure that unemployment payments never go back to $40 a day.
Considering the unprecedented events of the year so far, the consequences of poverty such as limited access to necessities and the inability to cover medical expenses have only worsened and is affecting many more in our communities.
Further, from a mental health and safety perspective, poverty also traps already vulnerable people in dangerous and damaging situations and the social restrictions and financial pressures of COVID-19 have contributed to a sharp increase in this type of abuse.
The ABC noted, "domestic violence is the single largest contributor to homelessness – with limited resources, women and children have specifically no means of escape and are usually economically dependent on their abusive partners."
A quarter of Australian people live below the poverty line and since the COVID-19 outbreak, many more families are reliant on government payments - reiterating the significance of this campaign.
Poverty puts pressure on people and if left untreated, it forces them into homelessness. As an organisation championing the values of hope and equality, Communicare aims to get behind initiatives like this and drive action by individuals and bodies who have the power to influence better outcomes.
As the custodians of White Ribbon Australia, it is also vital to remain aware of the various situations where women are at risk and take an organisation-wide response that protects them and brings change – with poverty being one of them.
All people, regardless of their age, status or background should have equal access to essentials and be given opportunities to fulfil their potential in a fair society. This is embedded in the work Communicare does and by partaking in advocacy, we can strengthen our social welfare system and continue creating and maintaining inclusive communities – one free from all forms of disadvantage.
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