COVID-19 update – 23 March 2020

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Information on supports for people and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

We are a sector that works towards equality, opportunity and wellbeing for all Queenslanders and so, naturally, while we work to shift our operations into a COVID-19 reality, many of our members are asking about the supports that are available for the people we serve.

This update provides information about some of the supports that are available to help your clients during this crisis.

We are pleased to see the Australian Government’s announcement about welcome increases to income support payments, these increases are vital now more than ever. The government also announced enhancements to the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure that will benefit not-for-profits including charities. We’ll bring you more information about this soon.

We are continuing to update the COVID-19 section on Community Door as information comes through so that there is one place you can go to find the relevant resources you need to support your organisation and clients.

Make sure you’re also following us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates.

Financial support for job seekers 

The Australian Government’s announcement on increases to some income support payments for existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment (Newstart Allowance), Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit for the next six months is a huge relief for those who are already struggling, and to help prevent more people from falling into the poverty trap.

Read more here.

Community Recovery Hotline

The Queensland Government’s Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors has established a Community Recovery Hotline. People who choose to self-isolate can call the hotline on 1800 173 349 to register for over the phone social and emotional telephone support. Those who have been quarantined and are not able to be self-reliant and have no other means of support can call the hotline to arrange delivery of essential food and medication.

The Department has also engaged Red Cross to provide daily telephone psychosocial support to people registered with Queensland Health in home quarantine.

The Department is working with other agencies and non-government agencies to scale up to meet greater levels of demand expected throughout the state.

Anyone can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for health advice or information in addition to the information provided on the Queensland Health coronavirus website.

Visit the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors web page for more information.

Supports for clients

We have included an information for clients section on the COVID-19 section of Community Door to provide one central place for useful resources to help you support your clients during this crisis.

This section includes information about government support, essential services and where to go if clients can’t pay their bills, domestic and family violence supports, emergency relief and health and wellbeing.

Emergency volunteering

If people are interested in volunteering to support the COVID-19 response they can register at the Emergency Volunteering website. They will contact you if your assistance is needed.

Note that all face-to-face services with Volunteering Queensland have been suspended until further notice.

Women and children health and safety working group

We have been participating in numerous stakeholder groups related to COVID-19 and have observed a lack of advocacy focussed on the issues faced by vulnerable women and children. I will convene a sector working group by teleconference on Wednesday 25 March at 10:30am. We will share relevant information that comes out of this working group with you. We have also advised the Department of Child Safety and Women that we are taking this step.

I encourage any organisations who are interested in being part of this group to contact me on [email protected]

Housing services and supports for people at risk of homelessness

The Department of Housing and Public Works is working closely with community organsiations including QCOSS to support organisations providing housing services as well as people at risk of homelessness. Over the coming days we will provide more details on this and we will keep the housing and homelessness section on the COVID-19 section of Community Door up to date.

You can find some information for clients on housing and homelessness here.

More information

Continue to check the COVID-19 section on the Community Door website to keep up to date with the latest information affecting your community organisation and your clients.

Visit the Queensland Health website for the most reliable source of health information for Queenslanders.

If you have any questions or updates about what is happening in the community sector please get in touch. For COVID-19 related issues, contact us on [email protected].

24 March 2020