Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance (ASRA) program
The Queensland Government, through Department of Local Government Racing and Multicultural Affairs, has provided funding of $3.988M to Communify to lead a collaboration of seven agencies to support people seeking asylum and people with a temporary protection visa residing in Queensland.
The aim of the ASRA program is to alleviate financial hardship and mental distress and support people to build capacity and wellbeing. The program provides funds for emergency relief and case coordination, as well as support for employment, housing, physical and mental health issues, and legal coordination.
The program is delivered via a collaboration of organisations. They are:
- Communify: ASRA program management and coordination
- Australian Red Cross: Case coordination, distribution of emergency relief and employment support
- Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS): Legal support coordination
- Multicultural Australia: TPV and SHEV support
- QPASTT: Mental health support
- Romero Centre: Housing/accommodation support
- World Wellness Group: Health advocacy, nurse case management and some GP sessions.
All people seeking asylum residing in Queensland and those with temporary protection visas who have little or no income are eligible for assistance through the ASRA program.
Bardon accommodation for men seeking asylum
Asylum Circle in partnership with Queensland State Government is managing studio accommodation for single men seeking asylum experiencing financial hardship due to their visa status and current immigration policies.
There are 18 fully self-contained studio units with private balconies which are currently fully occupied. A waiting list of potential residents has been created for when a unit becomes available.
We have created a model of housing with a holistic approach that responds to residents needs and involves local community engagement. The success of this model includes the support of pro bono services for assistance with legal matters, form filling and dental work.
Toowong Private Hospital and BHC partner with us to provide health and tenancy management support. With stable accommodation and the holistic approach to meet needs, the residents can focus on their well-being, finding employment if they have work rights and achieving goals that were previously beyond their reach.
We rely solely on donations to operate, maintain and fit out the units. The residents benefit from donations of food supplies and vouchers as their limited emergency relief funds often need supplementing.
Groups such as, St Vincent de Paul Bardon, Bardon State School, Mums 4 Refugees, Order of St Lazarus, Siganto Family, Buderim Buddies, QUT Kelvin Grove Dr Kate Murray, Yeronga State High School, Givit and many individuals and volunteers have been very generous supporting the residents and donating towards the operating costs involved in managing the units.
To donate to this project please see Support Our Work below.
The studio units: Gallery. Click each image for a closer look.
What we’re asking
We need suitable houses to provide homes for families who have been cut off from any financial assistance and nearly all kinds of funded support services.
These families are facing desitution. We are asking individuals, businesses, and faith groups from across South-East Queensland to commit to housing a family for at least 12 months.
This is the most significant emerging need for people seeking asylum living in our community.
How it would work
You could make a commitment as a family, a group of friends, work colleagues, a business or as a faith congregation.
You can team up with other congregations, families or businesses to get others involved.
The Romero Centre will act as the facilitator to connect your group with a family in urgent need of housing and to help set up a suitable arrangement.
How Can I Help?
Pay The Rent
You can commit to covering the rent for a family for up to a year. This will allow a family to remain in their present accommodation providing stability and the ability to maintain their support and schooling networks. The cost could be between $250 and $350 per week. Eg. Currently a parish is paying rent for a family of 3.
Does your church or congregation have a house that is not being used or could be repurposed?
Does someone in your congregation have an extra property they are willing to make available? Eg. A parish refurbished their convent and is accommodating 9 adult women, 3 teenage girls and 2 children.
Buy a House
A feasible model that many faith groups have already undertaken. It can be very affordable as properties can be purchased and a mortgage paid off for not much difference to renting. The benefit is that you can pay off an asset, which can be used over the longer term, for other forms of community housing or other uses for your congretation.
Take Out a Lease
Take out a lease on a property and sub-let to a family in need of a home.
Make a Donation
If you are not in a position to do any of the above cash donations are most welcome as the families need ongoing support.
- Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASS)
- Multicultural Australia
- RAILS: Refugee and Immigration Legal Service
A community legal service that provides advice and assistance to disadvantaged people. Services are free of charge.
- http://www.mdainc.org.au/Salvos Legal Humanitarian
for legal assistance
- Refugee Council of Australia
- Romero Centre
- QPASTT (Qld Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma)
- World Wellness Group
- Australian Red Cross
- Mater Refugee Health
- Transcultural Mental Health
- Muslim Charitable Foundation
- Indooroopilly Uniting Church Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group
- Australian Red Cross: Emergency Relief Resource
A referral guide for practitioners supporting people seeking asylum, in particular those subject to return.
- The Refugee Council of Australia
A small, not-for-profit organisation and relies on public financial support
to continue its vital work in research, education and advocacy.
- SHEV and TPV Protection Visas – a Factsheet
Factsheet from Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS).
Arabic, Tamil, Farsi and Dari translations available on RAILS website.