It’s all been happening lately at West Welcome Wagon with winter, policy changes, and Refugee Week keeping us as busy as ever.
We’ve been running donation drives and working bees as part of our Warm Homes, Warm Hearts campaign to keep asylum seekers warm this winter. It’s been one of the coldest starts to the season in years, and those in poor housing with few warm sheets felt it the most. We’re trying to get them all the cosy clothes and linens we can, so if there’s any way you would be able to help, please get in touch with us through our website. The smallest gift can make such a difference to those who need it most.
And that need could be about to get much greater, with changes to the Status Resolution Support System (SRSS) already taking effect. This will end the financial and social support given to thousands of refugees, including many children. The current payments, given to asylum seekers while their refugee status is being determined (a process which can take years) are about $35 a day – a tiny amount, well below the poverty line. Already vulnerable, these people could also lose their care workers, removing a vital support.
More than a third of those at risk are in Melbourne, so West Welcome Wagon are staying ready to roll out any extra support needed. Fortunately, we’re not alone; Refugee Week, a wonderful celebration of the value of refugees run by the Refugee Council of Australia, has just finished, with people attending events across the country. The theme was #WithRefugees. It was a timely reminder that asylum seekers do need our help, especially now, with the global migrant crisis at its highest levels since World War II. We’d greatly appreciate any help you could give.
If you’re looking to get involved at the Wagon, have a bit of fun and make some friends while you help people, you are always welcome!
Head over to our website at westwelcomewagon.org.au for more information on this, or to find out how you can donate or to learn anything else about us.
We hope to see you at the warehouse sometime soon – making a difference to asylum seekers is sure to warm your heart this winter.