Additional funding to help the more vulnerable in South Australia be able to pay their bills and put food on the table has been promised by the State Government.
Relief organisations and charities will share in $1.6 million, which is to be spent over the next three months, as demand for such services increase.
Regional agency ac.care welcomed the increase in financial support, which will be added to a Federal Government package that was announced previously.
ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said the organisation had financial counsellors and emergency relief assistance available which would help people facing uncertainty.
"We know for people who have lost their jobs, they may start to struggle to manage their expenses once bills come in," Mr Maddocks said.
"We know many people have never been in this situation before and never expected to require government benefits for their daily living expenses, however organisations like ac.care can provide a respectful, confidential and free service tailored to their individual needs to support people to ensure their financial position is sustainable as quickly as possible.
"Some people may be deferring payments of mortgages or other expenses and we can help plan for that now so they do not end up in a worse situation in three, six or 12 months."
State Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said that under the current situation the Government was committed to helping with the provision of critical services to South Australians who were in a vulnerable situation.
"Now, more than ever, people need help with their cost of living expenses including bills and daily essentials like groceries," Ms Lensink said.
"Vulnerable South Australians, including families on low-and-fixed incomes, may be experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and this $1.6 million Marshall Liberal Government funding boost will be used to provide immediate relief to them.
"This $500,000 funding boost for food relief organisations will ensure food can continue to be available for those who need it and will enable more food hampers, as well as cooked and frozen meals, to be delivered to vulnerable South Australians who are doing the right thing and self-isolating.
"We've committed $800,000 to be dispersed to charities and NGOs including Baptist Care SA, Uniting Country SA, Anglicare and Junction Australia to help South Australians with cost of living relief through supermarket and pharmacy vouchers, as well as bill relief."
The $1.6 million package includes
- $500,000 for the food relief sector - including $200,000 to Foodbank and $300,000 to other food relief charities including Oz Harvest, Secondbite and Meals on Wheels SA.
- $800,000 for charities to give emergency relief, including supermarket and pharmacy vouchers and help with cost-of living pressures.
- $185,000 to the Salvation Army, which provide the Affordable SA Helpline and National Debt Helpline SA branch.
- $144,000 to existing providers within the Statewide Financial Counselling Program.
ac.care: 1300 22 22 73
Baptist Care SA: 8273 7100
Uniting Country SA: 1300 067 777
Anglicare: 8305 9200
Junction Australia: 8392 3000
National Debt Helpline: 1800 0007 007
Affordable SA Helpline: 1800 025 539