By JULIUS DENNIS
Red Cross has received more than 50 requests for financial help from Alice Springs residents travelling on temporary visas in the fallout of COVID-19, says Laurel Duffell, a spokesperson for the organisation.
“We’re getting a pretty steady flow of people applying,” she says.
“A lot of people have been stood down in the hospitality and tourism sector. International students are also applying for help.
“We are becoming more aware of the emerging needs in this target group as the business shutdown continues.”
Ms Duffell (pictured) says the financial support Red Cross can offer comes in the form of a one off, customised payment that aims to supply visa holders with food and immediate expenses.
So far Red Cross has received approximately 1000 applications for help in the Northern Territory alone.
People visiting Australia who have been unable to leave have been left out from any direct aid from the Federal Government.
The payment program appears on the Workers and Wellbeing Fund page on the NT government website, but is “complimentary to initiatives already announced by the Northern Territory and Australian Governments.”
Ms Duffell says that Red Cross is using “government direction” to help guide their support.
Red Cross is working with the Melaleauca Refugee Centre on the project.
While Ms Duffell could not disclose dollar and cent amounts that the Red Cross is providing, she says that it varies from situation to situation, and that it is all about “looking at people’s immediate needs such as food, medicine or shelter”.
Individuals applying for financial help must be able to prove their hardship and provide a handful of other documents that help inform Red Cross the amount of support they require.
Some people have already received their payment.
Ms Duffell says that there is a system that dictates that individuals who need medical attention, have children or may be in danger will be prioritised.
However Red Cross is working as quickly as they can and is also keen to help “direct people” to other key supports they may need “whether that be mental health support, government assistance or other localised services”.
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