Social service providers fear the rising cost of living will push more people into homelessness in north-west Victoria.
Reserve Bank Governor Phillip Lowe warned last month that inflation was likely to hit seven per cent by the end of the year.
Fuel, food and education costs have been leading price rises across much of the economy, putting immense pressure on lower-income families.
Some charities and not-for-profits expect rising homelessness in the Mallee and Wimmera over the next six-to-12 months, but they’re assuring locals that help is available in a crisis.
Mallee Accommodation and Support Program chief executive Vincent Wilson said it was too early to have hard data.
“[But] unfortunately, we imagine that there’ll be some unfortunate trends emerging,” he said.
Mr Wilson said price rises could be a barrier to obtaining secure housing.
“As they are required to spend more on food, more on fuel … it decreases the likelihood of people having the funds to get themselves out of that situation — pay a bond, for example,” he said.
“It certainly has an impact and limits people’s ability to help themselves if more of their available funds are being spent on the basics.”
Bev Miatke is the client assessment manager at the Christian Emergency Food Centre in Horsham, three hours south of Mildura.
Ms Miatke said she was expecting demand to start straining supplies, and she was hoping Horsham residents who grew their own food could help their struggling friends and neighbours.
“If you’ve got something to share, share it,” she said.
Help is available
However, help is available for people looking for a place to live.
Anyone in the region up to the age of 24 can access housing support at Mallee Accommodation Support Program by calling 5021 6500 or visiting its office at 118 Pine Avenue.
People 25 years and older can find support at homelessness service provider Haven; Home, Safe by calling 1300 428 364 or visiting 143A Lime Avenue.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse or family violence, call The Orange Door on 1800 290 943, or call 000 in an emergency.
Sunraysia Community Health Services provides drug and alcohol dependence support on 5022 5444.