By Jake Hamilton
Thousands of vulnerable West Australians have been handed a multi-million dollar government lifeline.
Members of the community who are ineligible for COVID-19 stimulus payments and also fall between the cracks for other government welfare, can now receive emergency food packages and help with personal bills through the Financial Counselling Network (FCN).
Department of Communities Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) forms part of FCN and its
manager Hadassah Morrissey says those that need help should reach out.
“Those in need of emergency support during the COVID-19 pandemic can simply call our hotline and be assessed over the phone to see if they are eligible,” Mrs Morrissey says.
“Everyone’s needs are different, some may need nutritious meals for their family, others might need support paying for their utility, phone and internet bills along with car registrations too”.
FCN receives funding from the State Government and non-for-profit community groups, including Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS) and Lottery West. Lottery West said they are donating jackpot profits to assist multiple services deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
WACOSS Media Officer Louise Giolotto says the service has been operating for more than 12 years.
“This is just the beginning of the support needed for those affected, we are aiming to provide the best support system in the state for as long as we need to,” Ms Giolotto says.
Mr Giolotto says: “We have had depressions and recessions before but not in this era, people struggling right now need to reach out”.
The Emergency Relief and Food Access calls will be answered between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday for personal assessments.
If you need to help call 1800 979 777.