Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance (ASRA) program
In 2020 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.
Post Community Detention: Support and Coordination
People exiting community detention have been held in offshore and onshore detention facilities for a number of years without access to study, training and work experience.
Upon release they are issued 6 month final departure bridging visas with work rights and are responsible for finding accommodation, work, health services and other supports.
A Post Community Detention Coordination Group ( Multicultural Australia, ACCESS, individual volunteers, community groups and support services) linked to the ASRA program, was established in 2020.
Through a collaborative funding effort a casual short term Post Community Detention Coordinator (managed by Communify Qld) has been appointed to respond to the needs of individuals and families exiting community detention after short term settlement support from Multicultural Australia and ACCESS A referral pathway for Post CD people has been developed along with information about the supports provided by various organisations. Please follow the links.
Bardon accommodation for men seeking asylum
Communify in partnership with the 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 in Bardon 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 dynamic holistic and culturally sensitive approach that is responsive to residents’ varied and complex experiences and involves local community engagement.
Communify engages a Residents Support Coordinator who coordinates support services , advocates around access to health, education, debt management, employment and legal assistance and to foster community connection.
Toowong Private Hospital and BHC partner with us to provide a mental health service and tenancy management. While residing in this transitional accommodation and the residents can focus on their well-being, finding employment if they have work rights and achieving goals as they prepare to move into more secure accommodation.
Communify relies on donations to operate, maintain and fit out the units . The residents benefit from probono services and 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.
Support Coordination of Brisbane Community Hubs
Communify Qld has partnered with Community Hubs Australia to operate as the Brisbane Hub Support Agency which provides a Support Coordinator to assist Zillmere, Inala, Watson Road Acacia Ridge, Acacia Ridge and Indooroopilly Primary schools to establish community hubs.
These community hubs welcome community members including migrant and refugee families, particularly mothers with young children to share and learn. The onsite hubs will connect preschool children into playgroups and prepare them for school, help women and children learn and practice English; and build pathways to volunteering and employment.
For more information:
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.
In May 2016 Communify Qld produced community education videos in 5 languages: Russian, Amharic, Mandarin, Farsi and Bengali, funded through the Queensland Government’s Not Now Not Ever campaign.
Each video (excluding Russian) is produced with English subtitles. Five bilingual presenters in the videos provide information about what is considered to be domestic violence and outline services operating in Logan City, Brisbane and Ipswich.
The videos are being promoted throughout CALD communities and community service, family support, domestic violence service and multicultural service sectors.
Communify Qld hopes the community education videos will bring greater awareness about support and services available to families from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds who are experiencing domestic violence.
Communify hopes that the stigma surrounding domestic violence in many communities can be overcome and people who are suffering in silence can be encouraged to speak up and seek support and services in line with the Queensland Government’s 2016 Not Now Not Ever campaign.
Brisbane City Council funded project “Beware and Belong”
An Ethiopian bicultural worker and TESOL support worker were engaged by Communify multicultural programs to deliver community education workshops and events to raise awareness amongst CALD communities about family and domestic violence services, banking, No Interest Loan (NILS) schemes and budgeting programs and services.
In addition over 40 new arrival individuals were matched with buddies for English conversation and 16 “Preparing for Work in Australia” sessions were attended by job seekers originally from India, Bangladesh, Phillipines, South Sudan, Kenya and Vietnam.
Over 150 people from CALD backgrounds participated in activities at Inala and Kelvin Grove including Mandarin and Korean speaker group facilitated sessions and guest speakers from the Ethnic Community Council of Qld and Christians Against Poverty.
The success of this community education initiative has led to the production of bilingual videos and further partnerships with Korean speaking mental health workers to continue to raise awareness in new and emerging communities.
Mullumbimby, Uki and Federal refugee support groups have established themselves since 2014 to fundraise to contribute to refugee and asylum seekers support through Sanctuary in Lismore, Communify Qld in Brisbane and legal initiatives in Sydney.
They have also held film events to raise awareness and promote understanding about families who are seeking asylum in Australia.
Communify QLD is most grateful that our tax deductible asylum seeker gift account has received donations of over $26,000 over the last year from these groups .
Communify has worked closely with Inala Community House, Harmony Place and Romero Centre in identifying people in urgent need of Go Cards (for travel on public transport), emergency relief and visa and migration agent advice and has channelled the donations to these families and individuals.
These Northern NSW groups have joined Communify to launch a Homestay program in 2016 to link refugee and asylum seeker families in Brisbane with families in Pottsville, Mullumbimby , Murwillumbah and Federal who are offering to host weekend visits.
Two homestay awareness raising days have been held by Communify multicultural programs in partnership with PIR mental health workers at Harmony Place. Homestay hosts are applying for blue cards and have received registration forms from a number of families interested in taking up this opportunity. They are now preparing to host Persian and Afghani family visits during July 2016 school holidays.
Social Scaffolding consultancy has joined with Communify to run a Crowd funding campaign to generate funds for driving lessons for refugees and asylum seekers with limited income.
Over $1,500 was raised and used to pay for lessons for 10 people. Communify QLD appreciates the contributions of all those who donated to the campaign.
Social Scaffolding consultants are continuing to work with Communify in a pro bono capacity to facilitate ways agency and volunteer groups can collaborate in their efforts to support asylum seekers with little or no income.
Multicultural Program Manager & Support Coordinator for Community Hubs Australia
Mandy Cox: 0421 662 566
Residents Support Coordinator
Theo Carney 0426 103 912
ASRA Program Coordinator
Anne Hilton: 0416 043 093