By Joshua Low
Social welfare experts warn the rising cost of living in Western Australia is creating more homeless people and those in need of assistance.
They say more and more people are seeking help for food, clothing and emergency accommodation.
While those in the top 10 per-cent income bracket have seen an increase in wages of up to 72 per-cent over the past 25 years, people working with the disadvantaged say those in the bottom 10 per-cent seem to have been left behind with a minimal increase at best.
CEO of the West Australian Council of Social Services Irina Cattalini says we need to be wary of the impact that the increasing inequality divide is having on the community.
“Western Australia needs to do more to address the impacts of rising living costs and falling wage rises on our community and economy,” said Ms Cattalini.
Brian Tierney, Director of Shopfront, an organisation which helps those in need, says there has been an increase in the number of people coming into shelters for assistance, with almost 10,000 more visits now than five years ago.
“People who work [in this area] have seen an increase of people who are homeless or who are in need of assistance and it seems to be because of the discrepancy between cost of living and social services,” said Mr Tierney.
“Many people who come to visit us spend all the money they receive on their rent and need to come here to supplement their food and sometimes even for support with utility bills,” he said.
Nicola Clarkson of Fremantle, who has experienced difficulties relating to living expenses, believes the cost of housing along with a lack of social support plays a big part in the increasing numbers of those in need.
“What you get from the government is not keeping up with inflation and how much it costs to live here,” she said.