• Tristan Angelini

Extended hardship support for Victorians and the role of the Youth for the future



Significant financial hardships are sadly, pretty common these days, all attributed to the pandemic brought by the coronavirus. For the past 7 months, we all have been functioning with the utmost caution because of the risks involved. Nowadays, going out is not as safe as it was in the past having the virus limiting our every move. Everyone is affected. Lives lost. Businesses are just beginning to recover. It has been a very hard life for so many of us. Those who were able to still work from home are incredibly fortunate- but how about those who are struggling to even make ends meet?

The latest media release says that the Victorian Government will continue to provide assistance by doubling the hardship support for Victorians who have been going through financial difficulties. This is part of the $50 million programs that was allotted for those needing financial support. The government has commissioned the Red Cross to provide financial aid as well as information and referrals to those who are in dire need of support and who are not eligible for Commonwealth support or the International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

According to the announcement, Victorians with “limited income or savings on temporary or provisional visas and undocumented migrants are now eligible to apply for a payment of up to $800 per person.” This support is meant to help with living expenses during this difficult time. As for those who have already received financial aid, they can still receive up to $400 per person.

Depending on how many they are in the family and the circumstances each family is facing, they may still be eligible for more financial support. After eight weeks, if the applicants still continue to face financial hardships, they may still be applicable for additional payment. Community organizations and the Brotherhood of St Laurence- a social justice organization that works to alleviate poverty all over Australia, identify all these individuals that are eligible and at the same time, help them to apply.

Premier Daniel Andrews says, “This virus doesn’t discriminate, but its effects are felt more harshly by the most vulnerable among us – those without savings or work who are experiencing extreme hardship.”

So far, the program has delivered 6,588 Extreme Hardship Support Program payments worth over $3.3 million, which has supported 8,341 individuals. With Government support, it has been said that about 20,000 people have already received rent relief, international student support, local food relief services, health protection advice, and mental health support.

You can find out more information about the Extreme Hardship Support Program here.

2020 has been particularly difficult for the whole world, but we tend to forget that the youth might be taking it the hardest mentally and emotionally. With everything that has been going on, it is possible that so many of them fear for their future- and whether everything will turn out okay in the end. But looks like with a bold strategy, the youth will be the forefront of rebuilding the nation after the pandemic.

The first-ever youth strategy is said to be launched, and with this, the government and the youth will have to work side-by-side. The conversations between the government and communities in Victoria have led to creating changes for the youth. They will be given a voice to express what they need and what matters to them during this challenging time. “A series of online youth and community forums will be held across the state, including in suburban, regional, and rural areas.”

According to the media release, “The Government is partnering with youth sector organisations including the Youth Affairs Council Victoria, Koorie Youth Council, Centre for Multicultural Youth, Minus 18, and the Youth Disability Advocacy Service to make sure the forums include a diverse range of voices.”

All Victorians are encouraged to participate as well by giving your time to answer this survey.

We must be able to hear what the whole community is thinking and we must engage with the young people to provide support for them. This way, we reduce any chances of them going in the wrong direction. For instance, losing any sense of purpose could lead to hopelessness and depression. Mental health problems are part of the reason why homelessness actually exists. We now have a chance to put a stop to this.

Xotel will continue to partner with organizations to solve the homelessness problem. Check out our website and our social media pages for more information.

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