Australians are going to extreme measures to stay afloat during the cost-of-living crisis, with thousands of people struggling to afford basic living necessities while sinking into extreme poverty.
Vulnerable Aussies are living on less than $6 a day and are turning to desperate measures to cope, devastating new research from The Salvation Army has found.
Over the past year, 93 per cent of people who reached out to The Salvation Army for support have been struggling to afford day-to-day necessities.
After paying for essential living costs such as housing, food, utilities, health and fuel, the typical Australian has almost nothing left to spend or save.
The research also found half of The Salvation Army’s 1700 surveyed respondents couldn’t afford essential healthcare.
Meanwhile, 52 per cent of people are skipping meals to save money and 75 per cent are suffering from housing stress.
Salvation Army secretary for mission Stuart Glover said the crisis was making it almost impossible for some people to survive.
“Everyone is doing it tough at the moment, but for those who were already struggling, the cost-of living crisis is making it almost impossible for them to survive without help,” he said.
“We have seen a significant increase in everyday Australians who have fallen through the cracks over the last year.”
Captain Glover said people who used to volunteer with The Salvation Army were now asking for help.
Households with children are the hardest hit by financial pressures, with 75 per cent living below the poverty line.
Almost 25 per cent of these households can’t afford to take their children to see a doctor or dentist, and one in five are struggling to give children three meals a day.
Desperate parents have told The Salvation Army the struggles they are enduring are due to rising housing costs and inflation at the checkout.
One 55-year-old mother said she had lost 40kg in just nine months because her money was spent keeping a roof over her children's heads.
“I eat the leftover food from my child’s meal, if there is any, or I just don’t eat,” another 29-year-old parent confessed.
“I wait at the school carpark from drop-off until pick-up if I’m short on fuel. I have sold most of my own clothing to buy my children clothes.”
The Salvation Army is urging Australians who can afford it to dig deep and support the Red Shield Appeal.
“The need is greater than ever before,” Captain Glover said.
“For many Australians who are doing it tough, the Salvos are often their last line of defence. “We will always be there to give them a hand, whatever their circumstances may be, so that nobody has to struggle alone.”