If Everyone Helps Someone…..

Rapid Response for Refugees Circle (Circle 110) Update, Easter 2020

It’s Been Busy!

A massive thank you to everyone who has donated to Rapid Response for Refugees Circle (Circle 110), especially over the past few months. Regular or one-off donations and other Circles have kept our Circle afloat. A recent Bequest was perfectly timed as referring Agencies are overwhelmed by the large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers feeling the effects of the Covid-19 response on jobs.

Between 1 July 2019 and 9 April 2020, the Rapid Response for Refugees Circle (Circle 110) made 128 payments of more than $31, 700, literally helping 40 separate individuals and families to survive. This includes enabling people to retain basics like housing and utilities, feeding and clothing children fed, accessing essential medication and tests. “Paul” remains under medical supervision after his major surgery. He has twice been refused a Visa, and does not receive any social security. Our circle provides him with a small amount of money each week to cover shared rent, food, a Metro ticket and mobile phone costs.

Our three person team has also distributed donations of new clothes and bedding, food, furniture and whitegoods all in good condition. These have been received not just with gratitude but with excitement, especially by children involved.

The New Challenge

Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders are eligible for Government support through Centrelink. Those on Bridging Visas, with or without work rights are not. No work means no money or welfare payments.

Life Without Barriers (LWB) have requested temporary changes to the eligibility criteria for Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) for these and others in the community ineligible for mainstream Centrelink services. Additional Government funding has been promised which will help some. In the meantime, Refugee Support Service Agencies are becoming increasingly desperate and asking Circles of Friends Australia (COFA) more frequently for help to clients meet basic costs.

For example, not all landlords are willing or perhaps able to waive or reduce rent. Eviction is prohibited but harassment can’t be monitored. One of the Circle’s basic goals is to help families retain stable housing.

The Rapid Response for Refugees Circle (Circle 110) is a point of last resort for Refugee Support Service Agencies but options for workers who refer clients to us have become extremely limited.

What can be done?

There are many ways to get involved. If each of us helps one other person or family we will get through the Covid-19 crisis together.
Options include to: