‘Resources stretched’ as unemployment climbs
AS UNEMPLOYMENT rates continue to climb, charitable organisations across the region are bracing for the influx of people needing support.
Statistics released from the Salvation Army showed 6.5 per cent of Queensland jobs have already been wiped from the impacts of COVID-19, with the national unemployment rate forecast to hit 10 per cent by June.
As a result, the Salvation Army is bracing for dramatic increases in the number of people seeking help with financial hardship, homelessness and domestic violence.
“We expect to see the number of people who require assistance increase even more once the Government’s JobKeeper and additional funds under JobSeeker conclude in the coming months,” the Salvation Army’s Melinda Burrows said.
“COVID-19 has seen everyday Aussies face greater hardship than they have ever experienced before, impacting their physical, mental and financial health.”
Lifeline Darling Downs and South West CEO Derek Tuffield said resources would continue to be stretched as the region battled numerous hardships.
“The added strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, following seven years of prolonged drought and the recent bushfires in 2019 together with higher unemployment rates, will see an increase in need,” Mr Tuffield said.
“Winter is traditionally a difficult time as the colder weather is generally accompanied by increased requests for support from struggling families and individuals.”
He said the reopening of Stanthorpe’s Lifeline store had eased some stress among residents, but the demand continued to take a toll.
“To support our ability to assist those in need we are currently running our Share the Warmth Winter Appeal, encouraging residents across the Darling Downs to donate non-perishable food items, blankets or funds to help us share the warmth with those less fortunate.”
On top of this Mr Tuffield said $3000 worth of Essential Cards would be distributed across the Southern Downs.
“Each has a value of $100 (given) to residents affected by the bushfires.”
He said $60,000 was raised for the drought affected regions through Lifeline’s recent ‘You Return It – We Return It’ promotion.
“Of these funds $20,000 has been distributed with approximately $40,000 still available for Primary Producers.”
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