The social conditions people are born, live and work in are the most important determinants for good health, a forum has heard.
On Tuesday, stakeholders called for greater investment in the prevention of poverty and homelessness - including renewed calls to increase the Newstart allowance.
Held in conjunction with Anti Poverty Week, the forum brought together a range of Northern Tasmanian service providers including the St Vincent de Paul Society, City Mission, CatholicCare, the Salvation Army and the Launceston Benevolent Society.
St Vincent de Paul Tasmania chief executive Lara Alexander used the event to draw attention to what she described as a "lack of coordination" around the response to poverty.
"Resolving social issues without solid education and early intervention - it's not going to be easy and [it] will not achieve meaningful results," she said.
"It's not enough to look at a single issue and expect systemic change to happen.
"We talk a lot about prevention in health. But we fail to focus on prevention when it comes to poverty and homelessness and the question is why?
"We place more emphasis on supporting people, when they have already fallen into need, rather than placing equally as many resources or more, into prevention."
In other news:
In Australia, more than three million people or about 13.2 per cent of the population are considered to be living below the poverty line - including one in six children.
St Vincent de Paul state president Mark Gaetani said the "disturbing" statistics around poverty in Tasmania, including those struggling to live on as little as $39 a day, had significant flow-on effects.
"Vinnies has long campaigned for an increase in Newstart," he said.
"We are calling for these payments to be raised, so people relying on them can meet their basic needs and live with dignity.
"People living in poverty commonly suffer great levels of physical and mental illness.
"The high stress associated with living in poverty, can also contribute to behaviour, which leads to health risks such as smoking and poor diet.
"Newstart should not be a pathway to poverty, but a true support to those seeking employment."
City of Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten said the council would continue to work with the state and federal governments to address issues in the community, including homelessness.