Welfare agencies overrun

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 10 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIA'S welfare and charity operators are overwhelmed with demand as more Tasmanians are pushed into poverty.

The need is so great agencies are turning people away.

Paying the power bill or even just putting food on the table is becoming a challenge for a growing a number of Tasmanians -- new data showing more than 21,000 people in the state are out of work.

Hobart City Mission has reported a 43 per cent increase in demand.

"The situation is dire. We have had to turn people away, which we have never had to do before," spokeswoman Sharn Hitchins said.

A national poverty survey last October, found up to 25 per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty or are on the brink.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Tony Reidy said the effect of the unemployment and low employment rates combined with increased cost of living was worse than he had experienced in more than 30 years in the community welfare sector.

The cost of water, electricity and sewerage was beyond the means of thousands of Tasmanians, he said.

Hobart City Mission's crisis was exacerbated by a 20 per cent decrease in funding.

"The money is being channelled elsewhere by governments. We are not seeing as much cash but more goods, which was great but the people we are seeing need help to buy food," Mrs Hitchins said.

The Salvation Army also is turning away people in need.

"We have had a 30 per cent increase in the last financial year," spokesman Captain Craig Wood said.

alice.claridge@news.com.au


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