There are many faces of hardship.

Disadvantage can affect anyone, at any time. Without a safety net or support network, it can be challenging to move forward.

With your support we can help people who are experiencing disadvantage at all stages of life.

Understanding and measuring poverty and disadvantage has moved beyond a person’s income and assets. It now includes other essentials for participation in society, such as access to education, health services and transport, and non-material aspects.

Our programs are designed to help vulnerable people at difficult times of life – young children and families, the marginalised, those striving to get a job and older people.

Please invest in our work so we can continue the groundbreaking research and community development work that has such a profound and practical impact on so many lives.


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There are many circumstances which can lead to hardship.
Poverty doesn’t discriminate.


Meet Paul

'I wanted to work but because I wasn’t old enough, I couldn’t find a job'

Paul, 20, lives at one of our Education First Youth Foyers, the Brotherhood’s accommodation for young people who have been homeless. At only 17, a family breakdown forced Paul to leave home. Suddenly, he found himself isolated and unsure of the future. ‘One night it all changed and I had to grow up’, he explains.

A challenging home life meant that the issues he faced were intensified as Paul not only lacked work experience but also, because of this, struggled to find employment. ‘I couldn’t find work for ten months. I would apply for everything.’

Thanks to support at the Foyer, Paul’s future is now bright with study and volunteering. ‘My main goal is to make a difference.’

a young man in a hooded sweatshirt sitting at a desk
a lady in a pink floral top standing in front of a blue wall

Meet Ita

'I worry that I will never be able to catch up with bills and debts.'

Ita, 48, managed the demands of both a high-pressure career as a lighting designer and raising her daughters. A chronic illness forced her to give up work. Although she receives a disability support pension, financial hardship is now part of everyday life.

‘My financial situation affects my family. I worry a lot because my girls miss out on extra-curricular activities that they would like to take.’

With support from the Stepping Stones program, Ita is now starting her own small business, so she can accommodate her illness and contribute to the family income. ‘It’s empowering. I have a goal I want to meet so we can have a better future.’

Meet Shella

'Everything is expensive: car, bills, school fees, child care, food. It’s hard to save money.'

Shella, a mother-of-three, had difficulty juggling expenses. She came to Australia as a refugee in 2006. Life in Australia with a young family is costly, and despite both parents working full-time, it’s still a challenge to get by. ‘Both me and my husband earn a lower income’, Shella explains. ‘It is difficult to place the kids in before and after school care as it costs more than what I earn.’

Shella finds that the cost of living is rising: ‘Things are getting more expensive every year. Before, $100 would get a lot in your trolley but now it’s nothing.’ Since joining our Saver Plus program, Shella has been able to save $50 a month, helping to secure the future for her young family. ‘Saver Plus has taught me how to budget better even when we are on lower incomes,’ Shella says.

A lady in a white dress leaning against a desk in a classroom with children drawing in the background
An elderly man in a blue t-shirt standing in front of a red wall

Meet Selwyn

'Life is expensive. It would be difficult if we didn’t have a place like the Coolibah.'

For Selwyn, 84, living on the age pension is tough. To counter the challenges of getting older, Selwyn attends the Coolibah Centre where he’s found an active social life with activities like cooking, table tennis and exercise.

Opportunities at the centre mean older people with limited family support and financial resources can still enjoy a rich lifestyle. Financial advice is useful for members. ‘I can manage money because I have Coolibah’, Selwyn says. ‘Otherwise I don’t think I could manage.’

Knowing affordable meals are available is reassuring for Selwyn. ‘The food is delicious. Food outside Coolibah is expensive. For pensioners it is hard.’


We urge you to give today.

Australia is a better community when we can all participate and thrive together.

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Info graphic on the many reasons for financial insecurity

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Australian Aboriginal flag, a yellow circle on two horizontal black and red stripes

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Torres Strait Islander flag, an icon of a traditional headdress on blue, black and green stripes