Charity staff are not only burnt-out and struggling to keep up with increasing demand, they are seeing a rising wave of more complex problems, disadvantage and poverty among communities they serve, according to new research. Source: Pro Bono News.
The report, released by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) yesterday, highlights the immense pressure the sector is under, two years on from the beginning of the pandemic.
Based on findings from the Australian Community Sector Survey, the report revealed that just 6 per cent of the nearly 2000 people surveyed were always able to meet service demand. This is down from 19 per cent at the end of 2020.
Nearly 60 per cent of respondents reported an increase in the number of clients their service was unable to support, 73 per cent said there were increased levels of poverty and disadvantage in the communities they support, and 81 per cent reported growing complexity of need among service users.
Housing affordability and homelessness, social isolation, a lack of mental health support and the cost of living were some of the main challenges people faced, with demand for housing and homelessness spiking throughout the year.
ACOSS acting CEO Edwina MacDonald said not only were demand for services rising, but people’s needs were becoming more complex and harder to meet, which is a big challenge for service providers.
A quarter of participants reported decreased availability of funding to support their work, with just one in eight charity leaders saying that in 2021 there was enough funding to meet demand.
Community services struggle in Covid’s shadow (By Maggie Coggan, Pro Bono News)