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As Australia grapples with a period of soaring inflation, the burden on low-income individuals and families is becoming increasingly severe. Food costs have doubled, exacerbated by the impending doubling of electricity prices in the coming year, placing even greater strain on those with limited financial resources. Despite official claims of minor inflation rates, the reality is that the actual cost of living has risen significantly. Fuel and meat prices have more than doubled in the past year or two, with the once humble T-Bone steak costing a mere $9.00 per kilo and now soaring to over $28.00 per kilo. Chicken, recently priced at $2.69 per kilo, has skyrocketed to well over $6.60 per kilo. Meanwhile, wages have remained stagnant, failing to keep pace with these escalating expenses. Moreover, the labor shortage is compounding the issue, potentially exacerbating the cycle of rising costs.

The housing shortage has resulted in exorbitant rent prices, with vacancy rates in many areas dropping below 1%. According to CoreLogic reports, rents have surged by 20-30% in numerous regions. Unfortunately, individuals and families relying on low incomes or government programs have not received adequate increases in their earnings to cover these mounting costs. Distressingly, many families find themselves living in their cars, enduring hunger in a country known for its affluence. Local car parks have become temporary homes for parents and their children, and on Christmas Day, I encountered an older woman with an easy walker and her two dogs sleeping in a car, with the back seat serving as her makeshift bed while her canine companions occupied the front.

During a recent charity meeting in Beenleigh, I was disheartened to witness numerous families with their children sleeping in cars in the parking lot of the football oval. I approached a single mother with two toddlers who had been living in her car for approximately three months. The children appeared to be around 4 and 6 years old. It is deeply saddening to witness such circumstances in the “lucky country.” However, there is a way to make a difference.

The Solar Broker proudly serves as a Gold Sponsor of The Lighthouse, a charity committed to assisting individuals and families facing financial hardship. Through their partnership with food wholesalers, The Lighthouse offers struggling families the opportunity to purchase a shopping trolley of groceries for just $25.00. By visiting the link provided (https://lighthousecare.org.au), you can contribute to helping a struggling family afford essential food items. Additionally, you can choose to do your grocery shopping at The Lighthouse’s facility, knowing that your purchases will contribute to providing groceries for those in need.

Doug Baumber, the director of The Solar Broker, understands firsthand the hardships of poverty, having experienced hunger and limited resources during his childhood. Reflecting on those difficult times, Doug shares, “I can vividly recall the hunger and the knot in the stomach after dinner.” Growing up during the agricultural recession, Doug’s family endured significant challenges, transitioning from living on a station to residing in a Sydney slum that was scheduled for demolition. His father managed to rebuild their lives by taking over service stations, where Doug himself began working long hours at the tender age of thirteen.

Together, we can make a difference. Support The Lighthouse by clicking on the provided link to make a donation and contribute to alleviating the struggles faced by Australian families in need.

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