Most of us, at one time or another, have been at risk of poverty. Losing a job, dealing with an illness, struggling through a divorce or living situation change, or being a single parent can all create situations where income can become insecure and affording basic needs becomes a daily challenge. Additionally, abuse, inter-generational trauma, the effects of colonialism on Indigenous people, and lack of educational opportunities can further compound the issues and make it hard to rise out of poverty.
Programs and supports
With a minimum wage of $13.85 per hour and a living wage calculated at $19.39 per hour in Victoria, working multiple jobs is often the only way to make ends meet. The common advice of ‘go find a job’ does not help those who are already employed but unable to access higher wage positions due to an unfinished high school degree or absence of formal training. Having a minimum wage job or lack of full-time hours leaves little room for meeting a basic budget. Working 35+ hours a week while still remaining below the poverty line is distressing, especially for those with families.
Sadly, many hard working local residents are only a paycheque away from not being able to pay the bills, afford nutritious food, or pay rent. Two or more months of no paycheques puts people at serious risk of poverty.