INTERGENERATIONAL unemployment, a lack of affordable housing and difficulty accessing childcare have been identified as the main concerns for family support groups working in the Illawarra.
The Illawarra has a "stubbornly high" unemployment rate, with Wollongong currently sitting at 7 per cent - substantially greater than the national average of 5.7 per cent.
For the rest of the Illawarra the rate is much higher, and according to Department of Employment information, the figure sat at 9.7 per cent in July this year.
But the greatest concern for organisations like Mission Australia is youth unemployment in the Illawarra, and the organ-isation's NSW director James Toomey said a trend of increasing youth joblessness was worrying.
"The Illawarra is an area of stubbornly high unemployment," he said.
"If a young person is unemployed now, they are likely to be unemployed in 10 years' time.
"This is not only worrying for the individual but means increased costs for the community in terms of income support, criminal justice, health and family breakdown."
Wollongong's youth unemployment rate was 13.2 per cent in July, with the rest of the Illawarra at 21.5 per cent, compared to a state average of just 11.5 per cent.
Both the ALP and Coalition have policies to combat the problem.
Last week, the Coalition announced its Jobs Commitments Bonus - a scheme that would provide a host of financial benefits for long-term unemployed who manage to secure work for more than 12 months, or who relocate for a job.
Earlier this year the ALP announced $6.1 million for its Making Career Connections program to give students the skills and contacts necessary to succeed in the jobs market.
CatholicCare Wollongong family support program manager Eva Fraticelli said single parents were particularly at risk of falling through the cracks.
"Within the electoral area of Cunningham and Throsby you're looking at between 16 and 18 per cent having a sole parent," she said.
"The things they're struggling with are very basic needs like affordable housing and access to mental health services."
She called on political parties to look at ways of improving the affordability of childcare, particularly for low income earners.
Meanwhile, Mr Toomey said creating more affordable housing would go a long way to helping the Illawarra's homeless.
Based on 2011 Census information, the Illawarra-Shoalhaven Medicare Local estimated there were 813 homeless in Wollongong, 226 in Shoalhaven and 166 in Kiama - Shellharbour.
While the ALP aimed to halve homelessness by 2020, Mr Toomey said Mission Australia had yet to hear from the opposition.
"Without a new National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness - the first four-year deal provided $1.1 billion extra dollars to tackle homelessness and either established or improved around 180 services nationally - we have no chance of reaching the 2020 homeless goals," he said.