Red Cross welcome the Victorian governments continued $13.5 million investment in the Extreme Hardship Support Program, which helps temporary migrants access emergency financial assistance for food, medicine and other essentials.
Sue Cunningham, State Director of Australian Red Cross says the organisation had already distributed $34.4 million to around 44,000 people since June last year, under this program alone. This has included support to temporary migrants, international students, people on temporary visas who have lost their jobs and those seeking asylum, all of whom are ineligible for federal government support.
“Many who access emergency relief are in casual jobs in industries impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and lack access to safety nets such as Centrelink.
“This additional government support is absolutely critical for relieving the physical and mental health impacts of COVID-19 across the state. It helps temporary migrants meet basic needs during this lockdown and beyond, including a contribution to food, utilities, rent and medication.
“Many who access emergency relief are single and students facing near destitution in some cases. Ordinarily, they would contribute a great deal to our local economy, but the pandemic has plunged many into desperate need.
“None of us is safe until all of us is safe, and we encourage temporary visa holders, those on bridging visas and undocumented migrants in extreme financial hardship to contact Red Cross, to seek emergency relief,” Ms Cunningham said.
Applications can be made online at redcross.org.au/vicrelief or by phone 1800 855 240.
For media queries or interview requests, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 733 443.