The impact of COVID-19 on refugee families and how you can help?

When Ali*, a 34 year old father, lost his work as a taxi driver due to COVID 19, keeping his family from sleeping on the street seemed impossible. Like most people seeking asylum, Ali is ineligible for any form of Government support such as Job Seeker. Ali, his wife Fatima and their nine year old daughter Kayla, share a two bedroom apartment with another family under an informal rental agreement. When they fell behind on rent their landlord threatened to evict them and since they had no formal tenancy agreement, Ali knew they could be forced to vacate at any time.

With their case for asylum still pending before the Federal Circuit Court and with no income or means of financial support the family were at significant risk of homelesness and destitution. Fortunately, a friend of Ali’s told the family about the ASRC and suggested they might be able to get help for their situation. When Ali talked with James at the front reception of the ASRC, he knew he had come to a safe place and felt hopeful that things would be ok.

When people first come to the ASRC they are greeted by our team of caring and compassionate reception staff, like James. For some people seeking asylum, this is often their first interaction where they feel truly heard and seen since arriving in Australia. For many, this is the first time that they have had someone on their side who is willing do everything they can to fight for their rights.

Ali and Fatima’s assigned caseworker organised for their rent to be covered for the next two months and linked them to our Foodbank services where they received an emergency food relief package and will receive ongoing support in the months ahead.

Ali has since been referred to our employment team for support in getting him back to work and in the months ahead he will work closely with our team to develop a plan that will provide a pathway to more stable work. Ali’s wife Fatima has never spoken with a mental health professional regarding the traumas of leaving her home so the family’s caseworker will soon schedule a time for her to meet with someone from our Health Clinic so she can do a mental health assessment and get a referral to a psychologist. Finally, their daughter Kayla recently went for a check-up with Ellen in our Health Clinic and the family now has a pre-paid prescription for medication to help her better manage her acute asthma.

Because of you, the ASRC was able to be there for Ali and his family when they most needed support.This is the difference your donation makes.

It’s a long road ahead for Ali, Fatima and Kayla, but with your support families like theirs are able to rebuild their lives in safety here.

Please make an urgent tax-deductible donation by June 30th to ensure that we can be here for families like Ali’s, today, tomorrow and every day.

*To protect the identity of people seeking asylum this case study uses de-identified and amalgamated information

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