Close this search box.
Fundraising research Finance nonprofit Poverty Latest News

New research by Salvation Army reveals surge in extreme poverty amid cost-of-living

2 min read

New research reveals 91% of Queensland respondents who reached out to The Salvation Army for support were struggling to afford basic living necessities. 

Thousands of Queenslanders are continuing to plunge into extreme poverty, with vulnerable households turning to desperate measures to cope. 

Queensland households with children were often the hardest hit by financial pressures. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of these households are living $200 below the poverty line. 

This means that after paying for essential living costs, such as housing, food, utilities, health and fuel, the typical respondent is living on $5 a day to spend or save for other expenses. Nearly 30 per cent cannot afford to take their child to see a doctor or a dentist and one in four are unable to provide them with three meals a day. 

“Everyone is doing it tough at the moment but for those who were already struggling, the cost-of-living crisis is making it almost impossible for them to survive without help,” said Major Gavin Watts, Salvation Army Queensland Divisional Commander. 

Nine in ten respondents from Queensland (90 per cent) had experienced financial stress and faced more than two instances of significant financial hardship in the past year. 

The research, released to coincide with The Salvation Army’s annual Red Shield Appeal, also found nearly half of the respondents (47%) cannot afford essential healthcare, 57% are skipping meals to save money and 77% are experiencing housing stress. 

“We have seen a significant increase in everyday Queenslanders who have fallen through the cracks over the last year. In many instances, we are seeing those who used to volunteer or donate money and time to help the Salvos now coming to us for help,” added Major Watts. 

Many Queensland parents spoke of the sheer desperation they were experiencing due to rising housing costs and inflation at the checkout. 

“I have lost 40 kilograms in the last nine months because all my money goes on keeping a roof over my kids’ heads and trying to keep them in a safe place,” one 55-year-old mother told The Salvation Army.  

Another parent, 29, said: “I eat the leftover food from my child’s meal, if there is any, or I just don’t eat.” 

“I wait at the school car park from drop-off until pick-up if I’m short on fuel. I have sold most of my own clothing to buy my children’s clothes,” she added.  

But despite the hurdles many Australians are currently facing, Major Watts highlighted that the Salvation Army was always there for people during times of crisis. 

He urged Queenslanders to dig deep to support the Red Shield Appeal, noting that nearly 84% of respondents said they would not have managed financially without the support of The Salvation Army. 

This year’s appeal aims to raise $5.5 million in Queensland to help fund over 150 services across the state. 

In 2022, the Salvation Army in Queensland assisted more than 20,000 people and provided more than 26,000 sessions of care to people in need. The organisation also distributed nearly $2.9 million in financial assistance including gift cards, vouchers and household bill assistance to people in hardship. 

“The need is greater than ever before,” said Major Watts 

“With your support, The Salvation Army will help thousands of people to get back on their feet this year and give them hope for a better future.” 

To donate to The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal, or if you need support from The Salvos, visit or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58). You can also donate at any Salvos Store. 

Related: Salvation Army calls on government to increase Newstart allowance 

Website | + posts

Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Stories

Next Up