100 Families WA is a collaborative research project between Anglicare, Centrecare, Jacaranda Community Centre, Mercycare, Ruah Community Services, UnitingCare West, Wanslea, WACOSS and the University of Western Australia (Centre for Social Impact, the Social Policy Practice and Research Consortium and the School of Population and Global Health). Inspired by Auckland City Mission’s Family 100 project, the 100 Families WA project sought to gain a deep understanding of the lived experience of entrenched disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia.

Key findings

  • Entrenched disadvantage is complex—each pathway into, through, and out of disadvantage is unique. However, for everyone, the effects of disadvantage compound to make everyday life more difficult. For example, a broken washing machine can mean having to decide between a replacement washing machine, buying groceries, and/or public transport to get to a laundromat or to services because you can no longer buy groceries.
  • The 100 Families WA project has highlighted the importance of deep histories of disadvantage and trauma, the current high levels of food insecurity among families in hardship, the interlinkages between low incomes and debt (including pay-day loans), and the psychological distress that financial hardship brings to families.
  • People need support, at different levels including in policy settings and within general society, from government and non- government services, from informal supports such as friends, from their families and from within. The types of support needed also vary, and include basics for survival, social and emotional needs, and support for health and mental wellbeing.
  • Families want to feel seen, heard, and appreciated, but often do not due to negative rhetoric about people experiencing hardship, strict eligibility criteria for services and often overburdened workers, difficult social and familial relationships, and the experience of trauma, among many other factors.
  • People want the best for their families and actively work in many ways to support each other, such as taking on (sometimes unanticipated) caring responsibilities, sacrificing negotiable necessities (e.g. new clothes) for themselves so their children or grandchildren can have them, engaging in recovery journeys (e.g. from trauma, mental health issues, alcohol and other drug issues), and using their skills to provide for their families, be it through work, navigating support systems, or creating or refurbishing things to sell.

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