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Households go hungry

New research estimates 45,000 households using Anglicare Emergency Relief services don’t have enough money to adequately feed their families. Of this group, adults in 22,000 households go without food for a whole day, most weeks.

‘When there’s not enough to eat’, a report released today byAnglicare Australia, is based on a national survey of households using its services.

Kasy Chambers, Executive Director Anglicare Australia said “We were shocked to find that 76% of households requesting Emergency Relief from us are severely food insecure. Adults in one third of these households went without food for a day, most weeks, over a three month period.

“Our research clearly indicates that parents try to protect their children by deliberately missing meals themselves and sometimes going without food for a whole day. 

“It’s shocking that among households with children that are severely food insecure, almost one in 10 reported that children did not eat for a whole day on a regular basis.

“Anglicare considers its findings underestimate the extent of food insecurity as it only reflects people currently accessing Anglicare services. So this is just the tip of the iceberg”, said Ms Chambers.

The report, led by Susan King ANGLICARE Sydney, highlights the connection between food insecurity and inadequate income.   “People on income support payments like Newstart and the Disability Support Pension are at the highest risk of going without food.

“Unexpected expenses such as a high power bill, rent increase or car repairs can make people food insecure because food is often the only discretionary item in their weekly budget”, said Ms King.

Given the emerging issue of food insecurity for children in low income households, Anglicare believes it is unacceptable for the Federal Government to refuse to raise Newstart, and intend cutting the Parenting Payment after a child reaches eight years of age.

When there’s not enough to eat’ also looked at the social cost of food insecurity. “Going hungry affects people’s ability to function in everyday life. They become depressed, socially isolated and experience poorer health. Adults find it harder to get work and children struggle at school”, said Kasy Chambers. 

Ms Chambers also points to a link between food insecurity and rental stress. “Among households that are food insecure and privately renting, 94% experience rental stress.   This is partly the result of an undersupply of affordable housing.”

In Anti-Poverty Week 2012 Anglicare is calling on the Federal Government to increase Newstart and restore the Parenting Payment to ensure low income households can afford fresh food.

Click the links below to read the research on food insecurity. 

Empty Tables.pdf

2012 State of the Family - Not Enough to Eat.pdf

Media contact: Angus Belling 0411 779 337