Financial stress is on the rise, and the Salvation Army is trying to help out.
October 16 to 22 is Anti-Poverty Week. The week aims to strengthen the understanding of the causes of poverty, while encouraging action to prevent it.
Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor Rob Benton and Deputy Premier Troy Grant were at Delroy Shopping Centre on Monday to promote the week.
Mr Benton said one in three households experienced financial stress over having to meet repayments, and across the community the stress was increasing.
Furthermore, 21.3 per cent of Australian households, or 1.8 million, are financially distressed, meaning if there was an emergency they would be unable to put together $2,000 within seven days, or they have limited access to traditional banking facilities.
Of those in financial distress, 40 per cent were family groups, according to a report from Monash University.
He wanted the ‘Break the Scarcity Trap with Awesome Saving Strategies’ information day to highlight the positive steps people could undertake to keep them financially on track.
Because they’re small, people don’t say ‘how much is the interest rate?’ And then you’re on a treadmill you can’t get off.Rob Benton
Moneycare staff like Mr Benton can offer advice to those having trouble paying fines, experiencing harassment from creditors or debt collectors, facing legal action regarding debts, dealing with car or house repossession, worried about being evicted or struggling on low income.
Those experiencing financial stress for prolonged amounts of time often turned to short-term loans, which Mr Benton said only exasperated the issue.
“Because they’re small, people don’t say ‘how much is the interest rate?’ And then you’re on a treadmill you can’t get off,” he said.
More than 600,000 Australian households have used payday loans and consumer leases, according to the Salvation Army.
While the rain deterred some of the crowds from visiting the stall on Monday, Mr Benton said people had been taking money boxes and even donating money.
“The money goes back in the community to help people in need,” Mr Benton said.
A Moneycare Information Day will be held on Wednesday October 19 from 9am to 1pm at the Salvation Army.
Moneycare is a free and confidential service.