OUR SAY | This is a problem Ballarat really shouldn’t have

Just as one cannot guess at the magnitude of Ballarat’s homelessness by simply spotting those sleeping rough, food insecurity can not be easily evaluated.

For most comfortable people in a thriving, growing city the notion that people are going hungry everyday seems alien, almost impossible.

 

But that is exactly what is happening in Ballarat and in often more complex and subtle was than people can imagine.

Some of the statistics unearthed in a Ballarat Community Health survey will come as a rude shock for those who might prefer to live in well-fed denial.

While the sample size may be small, what we do know is this hundred people surveyed are 100 percent local, making it very much our own problem.

Moreover the data is compiled by network of organisations including, Anglicare, Uniting Ballarat and the Salvation Army who are squarely at the frontline of this demand.

The snapshot is a revelation: more than one third of people accessing emergency food have dependants, including children, relying on them.

A staggering three quarters have gone one to two days without food in the last week.

One quarter go to sleep hungry every week.

Perhaps surprisingly, while we may think of the traditional soup kitchen being for the homeless , more than forty percent were not homeless but privately renting.

Almost that number again were in public housing who found themselves in this dire situation, meaning the actual number of those sleeping rough is only a small portion of the problem.

Even more worrying is that while these services are set up and delivered as emergency solutions, almost half have been requiring charitable food services for more than a year and more than a third having been using it for a draining five years.

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