Across the country 10 Red Cross emergency relief teams provide assistance that can mean the difference between a family having food on the table, and going hungry; between having a safe place to sleep and being homeless.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the people our teams help extremely hard and as businesses closed and communities locked down, many lost whatever casual employment they had. “Most of them were doing casual jobs, so they were the first to be impacted,” Abdi says.
“Within the first two weeks, we got, just in Western Australia … close to around 200 clients [extra] seeking support around their rent, food, transport, their health needs.”
Photo: Australian Red Cross/Michael Chong
Although federal and state governments have provided very welcome financial support, the needs we are seeing still outstrip the available resources. “What we’re trying to do is, with the limited resources we have, distribute it to the people who are in financial hardship and most vulnerable.
“We try and provide more support to people who have additional vulnerabilities, like significant health [concerns], domestic violence, and children, or someone who doesn’t have work rights.”
For people with the greatest needs we provide casework support and link them with communities to assist them as they build a new life. “We try and connect them to communities … with their church or their mosque or their temple, or wherever we think that person could get support.