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Help at hand in times of financial struggle

17 October 2021

Help at hand in times of financial struggle

Many international students around Australia have sought assistance from the Salvos Doorways and emergency relief services.

Words Darryl Whitecross

One of the hardest-hit groups during the COVID-19 pandemic has been Australia’s international student cohort, according to the Salvos Doorways (emergency relief and holistic case management) manager Vaughan Olliffe.

However, international students are just one cohort feeling the strain, with thousands of Australians calling on the Salvos for help to meet day-to-day expenses, pay unexpected bills, or formulate a plan to reduce the economic impact of their situation.

Vaughan, who oversees about 80 staff across NSW, ACT and Queensland, said his teams had experienced an influx of ‘new’ community members seeking help due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Community members facing challenges around poverty were at least used to having a level of autonomy and control, but that has been taken away in the past 12 to 18 months, with uncertainty around income generation and lockdown duration and outcomes,” he said.

As Australia marks Anti-Poverty Week 2021, The Salvation Army is encouraging people in the community experiencing financial difficulty to reach out and seek support early. The theme for Anti-Poverty Week (17-23 October) is ‘Money Talks: The conversations we need to have’.

“The earlier you have those conversations, the earlier you can attend to them before a situation grows,” Vaughan said.

Recent research by the Australian financial services comparison body, Canstar, found that more than 95 per cent of Australians said they were feeling financially stressed.

Vaughan said the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payments and increases to JobSeeker last year have sustained many but, as support had been reduced, many again were struggling, and demand was increasing.

Doorways supports community members beyond times of financial emergency, with its case workers able to help those who reach out to the service work to identify and solve some of the issues that may be contributing to long-term economic hardship. The service works hand in hand with the Army’s Moneycare financial counselling service to assist people in regaining control of their finances.





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