Latet-Israeli Humanitarian Aid's alternative poverty report revealed that half of all parents being supported through welfare services said that at some point their children went days without having anything to eat.
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The survey – conducted jointly with the Smith Center in Israel – on 50 families being aided by various non-profit organizations and published Monday showed that some 9% of children under 18 were forced to steal food in order to eat.
It also revealed that 12% of the parents reported that their children had to take food from the floor or from garbage cans to maintain themselves. The survey also reported that 64% of families had to choose either buying food or buying other basic necessities.
The survey’s data also showed that 29% of children dropped out of school. Another stat directly related to school dropouts is that a quarter of minors originating from needy families were forced to find work in order to help support the family.
The findings also displayed that 67% of families were not capable of paying for medicine and medical treatments, which is a 6% increase from 2012.
Among seniors, the situation is even worse. Almost all seniors, 95%, reported that the old-age pension does not provide them enough in order to decently live out the remainder of their life. Some 83% said they could not afford the nursing services demanded in order to help maintain their health.
The main reason for these difficulties were the financial cutbacks, 67% said, which according to them were the main factor in drastically worsening their situation.
Another 14% said it was due to the increase in the VAT, and 10% said it was the cut in child allowances that was the deciding factor. As well, 96% of dependent families said that at times they were forced to give up essential products and services, and 22% said they had given them up on a permanent basis.
A possibly encouraging stat the survey published is that there an increase has been registered in the number of workers in welfare-dependent families, with 46% of spouses saying that they are working, a 7% increase from 2012. However, the information is troubling in light of the fact that there has been a consistent increase in the past five years (27.7%) of welfare-dependent workers. In a fifth of such families both of the spouses have jobs.
Latet’s report also included two other surveys: One examining the stances of 120 non-profit organization directors, and the other surveyed 500 people of the general public, asking their opinion on the poverty issue.
Nearly half of the general public, 45%, said that they were fearful of potential deterioration in the economic situation for families in need, which is a 9% increase from last year. Additionally, 29% of those fearful said that the past year was to blame for the dependent families’ hardships.
Half of the general public respondents said they were forced to buy less food because of the economic situation. There were also 15% of people who took on a second job or found another job in order to increase their income. As well, 14% of the public took a bank loan in order to deal with their dire financial condition.
Among the non-profit organization directors, 61% reported an increase in requests for aid for children. In addition, 88% said that the most needed type of support for children was food support.
The report will be presented Tuesday in a national conference of charity directors, where Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) is expected to present his plan for food security.
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