Urgent Need for Housing

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Can you help give a home to a family this Christmas?

People seeking asylum in our community are facing homelessness and destitution.

 

URGENT HOUSING NEED FLYER

The ask:

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 are families facing destitution.

We are asking churches, parishes, and faith groups from across South-East Queensland to commit to housing a single family, for at least 12 months.

This is the most significant emerging need for people seeking asylum living in our community.

 

What would this look like?

There are a few ways this could be done:

  1. Make available your house.

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?

Example is the Stafford Parish of Lady of Apostles refurbishing their convent and sheltering 9 adult women, 3 teenagers girls and 2 children.

Refugees Welcome operating from Romero Centre would be able to provide support for all hosts.

  1. Pay the rent.

Can you commit to covering the rent for a family for up to a year? Roughly you might expect the cost to be between $250 -350 per week. This would be paid in the usual manner to a landlord on a typical agreed period (weekly, fortnightly or monthly).

Romero Centre would be able to facilitate the link with the landlord and negotiate best way of payments.

Example: Currently Sunnybank Parish paying rent for a family of 3.

  1. Take out a lease.

Alternatively to paying the rent, you could take out a lease on a property, and sub-let to a family in need of a home.

  1. Buy a house.

This may sound like a more novel idea, but is actually a very feasible model that many faith groups already undertake for a range of reasons. It would require more upfront consideration and planning. However, it can be very affordable, as properties can be purchased and a mortgage paid off, often for not much difference to renting. The benefit is that you are able to pay off an asset, which can be used by over the longer term, for other forms of community housing or other uses for your congregation.

Currently, we have some private individuals leasing their rental houses rent free to single mother and 3 children without income. One house is leased in Moorooka for very minimum price of $100.00p/w (just to cover the rates and water).

 

How would this work?

You could make a commitment as a congregation, or you could team up with other congregations within your denomination, or you could do it locally – as an ecumenical or interfaith collaboration with another group in your local area.

The Romero Asylum Seeker 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.

  • For any of these arrangements, you should expect all of the usual tenancy rules would apply and the usual agreements, and if applicable bonds, would need to be put in place.
  • Our hope is that you would agree to provide a home for no cost. Or where a breadwinner in the family is able to secure some employment, for a much-reduced rate, depending on the circumstances and what is feasible for the family without income. We ask you to be mindful that having no income and eligibility for welfare support means that if there is only one person employed within the family their income needs to cover all other expenses for the whole family such as medications, legal/immigration, transport to multiple required appointments food and others.
  • The Romero Centre will also continue to provide ongoing case management and referral support for these families. They will coordinate with programs like the Asylum Circle, Red Cross, Refugees Welcome, World Wellness Group and emergency relief and health services.
  • There would be no expectation that you would also have to provide other ongoing assistance. A roof over their heads is what is needed most.

We don’t expect groups to have a place ready to go straight away, or have homes sitting there unused. But if you were able to make the commitment, and to register this with Romero Centre, we are hoping to make the possible matches between a family and a home as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

The great challenge for all of us, and in particular the families, is that we simply don’t know who is going to be forced into this position – of being cut off and set adrift – next, or when it might happen. But there is a steady stream of families being thrust into this position who are finding their way to Romero Centre seeking help.

Families and individuals who are assessed as finally determined or have their income cut while on the Bridging Visa, even if their application is still in the process of assessment, are not eligible for any social housing and not even for the homeless shelters. The government funded accommodation support is based on the premises that a person is able to access t6heir welfare support and will be able to contribute to the rent/costs of the shelter.

 

What if we can do this & more!?

Great!

If you were able to and interested in doing so, the possibility for also assisting with other material needs or providing social support might be very welcomed.

Many people have already been living peacefully in Australia for years already, but caught in a terrible limbo whilst they wait for a decision from the Government about their applications for protection. So the needs of each family will vary. This could be discussed with the Romero Centre, and later the families, when the arrangements are being discussed and put in place.

The other key need is employment! Some people have secured access to work rights, and would dearly love to financially support themselves and their families. But after many years of being prevented from working, denied access to adult education, or having being subjected to constantly changed visa conditions (which employers can struggle to understand), many people seeking asylum face huge barriers to getting a job.

If you were able to help source any job opportunities for these families, or indeed others, that would be incredibly helpful and empowering.

 

Take the next step! Contact us now.

Contact the Romero Asylum Seeker Centre

Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski

Romero Centre Manager

07 3013 0100 M: 0438112 076

Beata.Ostapiej-Piatkowski@mercycs.org.au

If you simply want to talk through possibilities and or how you might do this in your congregation, or were interested in being put in touch with other interested churches or faith groups in your area, you can also talk to the following people, who are also co-convenors of the Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASS Network):

 

The homestay alternative

We really need to find more houses! However if you are not able to provide an entire house, but do have a self-contained flat, or are able to host a person in your home, an alternative is to sign up to be a host through the Refugees Welcome initiative: www.refugeeswelcome.org.au

Refugees Welcome is also partnering with the Romero Centre and works closely with them to facilitate an arrangement between a host and person needing a home.

* The Romero Asylum Seeker Centre is the only dedicated resources center for people seeking asylum in Queensland. They are currently assisting dozens of families across South East Queensland.

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