Welfare Agencies Forced to Cut Back - Survey
23 October 2000 at 12:10 pm
A national survey of frontline community welfare agencies shows that many of them are simply unable to meet the demand for help or are being forced to cut back on the help they provide to low income and disadvantaged Australians.
The survey, covering 1000 community agencies in aged care, disability services, employment, family support, health and housing, was conducted by the Australian Council of Social Service.
Almost half the agencies reported their inability to meet demand and being forced to increase referrals to other organisations or create long waiting lists.
The survey found another 37 percent of these Not for Profits were using up their financial reserves or increasing the unpaid efforts of their staff and volunteers.
Two thirds of the surveyed organisations said they were faced with more people needing their services than in the previous year and 80 percent said they were at maximum capacity.
The agencies provided services to over 1.7 million people in the first six months of this year.
ACOSS President Michael Raper says the strategies being forced onto these agencies cannot be employed indefinitely.
The ACOSS President says these results confirm the need for action by all levels of government to reduce the stress being placed on community welfare agencies.
He says as a priority, the decline in low cost housing needs to be addressed and the Federal Government needs to boost unemployment benefits which are currently well below the poverty line.
The full text of the report can be down loaded from the ACOSS web site at www.acoss.org.au.