Australian Red Cross has stopped taking new emergency cash relief flood grant applications, as the number of applications has met the level of funds available.
Red Cross Acting Director of Australian Programs Garry Page said $20 million dollars had been distributed so far through approximately 40,000 grants, and an estimated 30,000 eligible applications will be processed in the coming days and weeks.
“We anticipate these as-yet-unprocessed grants will mean available funds – almost $40 million – are effectively fully allocated,” he said.
“It wouldn’t be fair for us to continue to accept applications when there are unlikely to be grant funds available, so we have closed applications.”
“Recently, we contacted people who had draft applications unsubmitted, or who we needed further details from, to let them know this step was coming. We also spread the word among our networks and stakeholders in affected communities, to give people a heads-up to get their applications in,” he said.
Funds for cash assistance are from public and corporate support for the Australia Unites Telethon hosted by broadcasters Nine, Seven and Ten, which raised $27.2 million.
“Every cent raised through the Telethon is being distributed as grants. That has been supplemented with $12.7 million from our broader flood Appeal,” Mr Page said.
“Other funds raised from the appeal will go to a dedicated cash assistance team, casework support for grant applicants, and immediate response and long-term recovery, which we know from experience is incredibly vital to help communities recover.”
Mr Page said Red Cross had had heart-warming feedback from people who received $500 household grants.
“People told us the grant, albeit relatively small, was invaluable on their road to recovery.”
“One person said the grant had helped them buy a microwave and other appliances so they could live in their flood-damaged house despite the kitchen having been destroyed. Others said they used the money to buy clothes and shoes for themselves and their children, and for medication, temporary accommodation, house repairs, fuel, transport, and to relocate livestock.
“It is obvious that the grant provided immediate relief to many people. That is only possible because of the generosity of people and partners across Australia.”
Mr Page said Red Cross grant recipients had praised Red Cross staff and volunteers for the care and support provided at flood evacuation and recovery centres and in the community.
“We will continue to work with flooded communities over coming months and years,” he said.
Up-to-date information on grant allocations is available at the Cash Assistance dashboard at www.redcross.org.au/cashassistance.
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