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Sep 24, 2017

Anglicare WA has launched its annual Spring Appeal at a time when its financial counselling services are experiencing increasing demand from people struggling with everyday costs of living.

Chief Executive Officer for Anglicare WA, Ian Carter, said the state’s economic downturn, high rate of unemployment and sharp increases in public utility costs was a triple blow to many families who were “just a few paychecks from serious difficulty.”    

According to Anglicare WA, some 240,000 Western Australians are living below the poverty line, with a further 150,000 at risk of financial hardship.

“Over the past year, 44 percent of Western Australian households experienced financial stress and just over 13 percent could not pay their electricity, gas or phone bills on time.   

“In Perth’s northern suburbs, 30 percent of clients presenting to our financial counselling services are individuals struggling to pay their utility bill in the past six months, with the average utilities debt having jumped from $250 to $1,500 since 2016.

“People are not simply struggling with the jump in prices, but juggling multiple bills. Families and individuals already on tight budgets are sacrificing other essential items, such as food and medications, just to cover power bills.”

Mr Carter said Anglicare WA’s Financial Counselling services are helping eligible clients with advice on reducing energy bills, access to Hardship Utility Grants and negotiating repayment plans with gas and electricity companies. In the last year more than 3,000 people used the service.

“We can also help eligible clients with no-interest loans of up to $1,500 so they can buy more energy efficient white goods to lower their bills,” Mr Carter said.

Mr Carter said monies raised from the Spring Appeal would go towards a range of services provided by his organisation, including support for homeless people and counselling services for children experiencing domestic violence.

“Our Spring Appeal is a reminder that supporting vulnerable Western Australians is something we do throughout the entire year, and we look to generous members of the public to assist us in this work,” Mr Carter said.  

Donations can be made by calling Anglicare WA on 9263 2091 or via the online donation form.

For media enquiries please contact the Anglicare WA media team on 9263 2039 or brian.greig@anglicarewa.org.au.

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