Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cabrini’s Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub (the Hub) has been inundated with referrals for individuals and families struggling to survive with no income. Widespread job losses compounded by prolonged uncertainty and the impending risk of destitution have led to rapid physical and mental deterioration of people seeking asylum.
Our friends at the Refugee Council of Australia have been working hard with charities and other organisations to understand the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people seeking asylum. Their new report – Homelessness and hunger among people seeking asylum during COVID-19–reveals the start reality of those vulnerable communities:
- 70% of people have been forced to skip meals due to hardship
- 14% are currently experiencing homelessness, while 55% are at imminent risk of homelessness
- 88% have struggled to pay their rent since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Our own Dr Gill Singleton, Medical Director at the Hub, has seen firsthand the difficult decisions families are forced to make. Lack of income and ineligibility for welfare support are leading to families skipping meals or relying on charity food banks. As a result, doctors at the Hub are starting to see signs of nutritional deficiencies in children.
Cabrini Outreach joined the call to make information about hunger and homelessness among the asylum seeker population known to the general public. A collaborative media release resulted in numerous requests for interviews with Dr Gill Singleton across print, radio and television.
You can view the main stories here:
- ABC RN: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/asylum-seekers-left-behind-in-covid-recovery/12996902
- SBS coverage https://www.sbs.com.au/news/asylum-seekers-are-struggling-under-the-unrelenting-financial-pressure-of-the-coronavirus-crisis
- The West Australian: https://thewest.com.au/news/social/australias-refugee-poverty-crisis-worsens-ng-s-2042543
If you would like to help support people seeking asylum, you can make a donation here.