With one in eight Australians living in poverty and more than three million adults either completely or severely financially excluded, governments and civil society are feeling an increasing pressure to provide crisis and hardship services such as housing, emergency relief, counselling and family violence support.

Social consequences are impacted by financial exclusion and can place individuals and families into a never ending cycle of disadvantage. Those working in the front line in community services know that financial exclusion has negative social consequences but what can be done about this?

This negative consequence affects the pieces of the puzzle that allows an individual to participate in society. The puzzle pieces that are missing when a vulnerable person is financially excluded are self-esteem, social connections and social relationships with family and friends. The causes for financial exclusion are multilayered involving the individual, the household, community and institutions.

There is growing evidence to show that clients experiencing hardship and exclusion can be supported with people-centred services and programs to assist them to move along the financial continuum and improve wellbeing. The key phases of this strategy are crisis, hardship, stability, asset building, income generation, independence and resilience.

The negative impacts for those living on a low income can be minimized through preventative measures aimed at financial and social inclusion. The Financial Inclusion Conference has identified that it is everyone’s business to come together to solve the puzzle in empowering vulnerable people.

The Northern Rivers Community Gateway will hold its third annual conference, Financial Inclusion – Everyone’s Business, over two days on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th October 2015 at WatervieW in Bicentennial Park, Sydney. The conference will include a Masquerade Conference Dinner that promises to be an enchanting and spectacular experience for our delegates.

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