SA Funded Emergency Relief

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23 April, 2020

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Australians are not known for asking for help when they first need it. Even in the current crisis we tend to think ourselves as the lucky country, which is supported with an attitude of ‘she’ll be right mate’. We remain bunkered down in isolation and despite the efforts of Federal and State Governments providing financial stimulus more and more people will find themselves needing assistance for the basics over the coming months, some for the first time. 

The SA Government has for many years provided for a network of support agencies across the State that can help with the basics such as food, financial help and support. We call this Network, Emergency Relief. It supports people in need with food, financial and material assistance. Access to No-Interest-Loan-Scheme, cheaper insurance, the basic essentials and free Financial Counselling to help manage debt. 

As this Network is Government funded there are strict measures in place so that these services are accountable, accessible and beneficial to those experiencing financial hardship. 

The SA Government funded ER agencies are provided below for convenience and to answer a few recent questions on social media. 

Eastern Adelaide - Baptist Care SA 8118 5200 

Northern Adelaide - Anglicare SA 1800 061 552 

Southern Adelaide - Anglicare Sa 1800 748 149 

Western Adelaide - UnitingCare Wesley Bowden 8245 7139 

Adelaide Hills - The Hut Community Centre 8339 4400 

Barossa, Light and Lower North - Lutheran Community Care 8562 2688 

Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island - Junction Australia 8392 3000 

Eyre and Western - CentreCare Catholic Country SA 1800 759 865 

Far North - CentreCare Catholic Country SA 1800 759 865 

Limestone Coast - ac.care 7725 3000 

Murray and Mallee - ac.care Murraylands: 8531 4901 Riverland: 8580 5301 

Yorke and Mid North - Uniting Country SA 1300 067 777 

There are also federally funded programs such as The Salvation Army’s Doorways Program, which is the biggest provider of Emergency Relief in South Australia and utilises their reach to stretch across the state. It also provides many other forms of personalised supports. With 23 major centres in the state they form an important part of servicing the South Australian community and are subject to similar Government scrutiny.

Outside Adelaide there are the Australian Red Cross and community transport networks that help people get to and from services and medical appointments. In the regional areas transport is one of the big issues and without all these organisations working together many would find living in the bush a lot harder and very isolated. Organisations such as FoodBank, Oz Harvest, Second Bite and even your local supermarket form an important supply chain for these Networks. 

There are smaller groups outside of normal funding arrangements such as churches and charities that help to support their communities. Some ask for donations and some charge a fee to cover their costs. Mostly they provide food to get by and some obtain grants or special funding or find support from local businesses to give a little extra. Their genuine enthusiasm and care can come from personal hardship experience and is always well received by those they help.

Community Centres often promote sharing programs with grow free tables and local Food Pantry clubs where you pay a low cost for a number of items. Many are increasingly providing food markets and food parcels at no cost. Many have social programs that incorporate free lunches and welcome anyone from the community. Of course with isolation practices in place many of these services are closed or are providing delivery or drive through pick ups. There are even a lot of goodwill volunteers who organise themselves to provide food for locals in times such as these or help pick an over abundance of fruit to share with the community. Locally sourced seasonal fruit for free, what more could you ask for?

You don’t know what you don’t know and many simply don’t know where to find and access help. Affordable SA is a user-focused suite of services, keeping people informed and aware of the community supports and services available to help whilst linking in with many organisations and promoting all the services, big and small. Affordable SA is committed to making it easy for you to connect and access these services in time of need. 

Most of the funded organisations provide Emergency Relief combined with financial counselling, budgeting advice or utilities education. Some specialise in family relationships or consumer law to cover the full range of needs and many link together to form hubs of support for metro and regional areas. 

Using a joint approach to providing food assistance and financial counselling works far better than just providing food alone. A financial counsellor is FREE, independent and confidential. They can help provide a new start for long-term debt issues and be an advocate for you in times of financial hardship. Accessing these services sooner rather than later can drastically change your financial outcomes and remove the related stress and mental anguish associated with being in a vulnerable financial situation. 

In the coming months many of us will need to seek help. South Australia has been a leading example of doing the right thing by our neighbours. But the bell will toll and hopefully we will get through to the other side by standing together whilst apart #allinthistogether

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50 Days to Go....50 Ways to Save for an Australian Christmas

Community

1. Contact your local Salvation Army and ask about the Christmas Cheer Program

2. Seek out which church based organisations are offering Christmas day lunch in your area

3. If don’t want to feel the financial pressure of Christmas Day, consider volunteering your time on Christmas Day to help others

4. Contact your local council, community centre or library to see what free Christmas activities are offered in your area during the Christmas period

5. Visit your local op shop for Christmas supplies

6. If you are considering buying a pet as a gift for Christmas, consider adopting from a rescue centre

Food

7. Buy in bulk and split the cost with friends and/or family members

8. Start buying non-perishable groceries now

9. If you know that there will be non-perishable groceries that you will need for Christmas, buy 2 of them when they are half price, that way you will have one for now and one for Christmas

10. Instead of an expensive hot turkey, consider a non-traditional, southern-hemisphere inspired Christmas Day menu of cold meat and salads

11. As most supermarkets are closed on Christmas Day, pay them a visit the night before right before they close to see what food has been discounted

12. It doesn’t snow this side of the equator on Christmas Day, so take Christmas outside. As an option, suggest that everyone bring a salad or a packet of sausages to cook on the public BBQ at your local park.

13. Instead of trying to buy (or make) a Christmas pudding, consider making a ‘non-traditional’ ice cream cake

14. Consider using accumulated supermarket loyalty points to buy your Christmas food

15. Instead of hosting a Christmas lunch or dinner, consider the cheaper option of a Christmas breakfast (no turkey required)

16. Avoid Christmas hampers that have year-long payment arrangements. You can end up paying a lot more for items compared to if you purchased them outright.

17. Don’t feel pressured to serve ‘traditional’ food at Christmas time. In Japan, it is tradition for around 3.6 million families to get a ‘holiday party bucket’ from KFC on Christmas Eve…

18. Instead of buying a whole turkey, ham or chicken, consider buying separate cuts of meat (e.g. legs, wings, roasts, etc.)

Presents

19. Commit to a budget. Draw up a table with who you are buying for and how much you can afford to spend on each person. Do not go over your budget.

20. If the children in your family are getting older, consider the option of a Secret Santa (each person is responsible for only one gift)

21. Take advantage of the extended Christmas shopping hours. There will be less people around, which means you may feel less stressed and rushed

22. Don’t feel pressured by others, or yourself, to buy Christmas presents you cannot afford

23. Wrapping paper can be expensive. Consider newspaper, material, cellophane, brown paper, etc

24. Consider baking cookies or making a Christmas pudding as alternative to buying someone a Christmas present

25. Consider making homemade pickles, jams, preserves and giving them as gifts

26. Only go shopping for Christmas gifts when you know what you want to buy – avoid impulse purchases that are not within your budget

27. Save money on buying Christmas cards by sending your Christmas greetings electronically via email, text or social media

28. If you are creative, try a DIY present – soaps, candles, a knitted scarf, a tie dye t shirt, a photo frame, a painting, etc

29. Consider giving the ‘gift of time’ to someone. Create a coupon book of activities that you could do together in the future (e.g. watching a movie of the other person’s choice)

30. Do not put yourself in financial hardship just so you can buy what others consider to be ‘the most amazing, best Christmas present of 2021’… it will be something completely different by Christmas 2022

31. If you don’t know what to get someone, consider a small charity donation on their behalf

32. Consider giving gift cards instead of actual gifts

33. Avoid the temptation of getting ‘quick, easy’ money through pay day lenders to buy Christmas presents

34. Recycle Christmas wrapping paper and gift bags from previous years

Decorations

35. Get your children involved by making your own Christmas cards

36. Buy your 2022 Christmas decorations on or after Boxing Day

37. If buying a new Christmas tree is not in your budget this year, consider designing and building your own

38. To give the traditional ‘Christmas tree’ a modern twist, decorate an indoor plant

39. Make your own table decorations – i.e. use a roll of wrapping paper as a table runner or pick foliage from your garden

40. Make your own Christmas stockings by decorating old pillow cases

41. Use newspaper and craft paint to make a home-made Christmas garland

42. Choose solar Christmas lights over electric

43. Do not put yourself in debt trying to make your house look like something you saw online. You don’t need to make people believe that you live in a European, snow covered cottage…

Budget

44. Are you a casual employee and does your work place close over Christmas? Make sure that you have funds saved up to cover essential living expenses over the Christmas break.

45. Do not put yourself into financial hardship for the sake of others. If you cannot afford to attend a Christmas function, it is ok to politely decline the invitation.

46. It is inevitable that there will be people out there that will spend more/less than you at Christmas. Remember to work within your budget this Christmas

47. The weather at Christmas time can be extremely hot. Consider doing a home energy audit on your air conditioner/cooling system to see the amount of electricity it uses and what it is costing you

48. For Christmas 2022, consider putting money away each fortnight into a separate bank account

49. Create a Christmas spending budget and keep track of food, presents, decorations, etc

50. Try to avoid using the money you would spend on essential living expenses (rent, electricity, etc) to pay for Christmas. This will catch up with you when Christmas is over.

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12 days of Christmas with Affordable SA

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

An emu up a gum tree?!

Merry Christmas!

It feels like the Christmas season starts earlier every year, with shops, online stores and businesses putting up decorations and holding promotions in the months leading up to Christmas day. But, did you know that the Christmas season and the 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day itself?

The 12 days of Christmas is the period in Christian theology that marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).

The 12 Days of Christmas song that most of us are familiar with comes from an English composer named Frederic Austin. In 1909, he set the melody and lyrics (including changing 'colly' to 'calling') and added as his own flourish, the drawn-out cadence of 'five go-old rings'. The earliest known version first appeared in a 1780 children's book called 'Mirth With-out Mischief'.

Learn more about the history of the '12 days of Christmas' in this interesting article: https://www.vox.com/21796404/12-days-of-christmas-explained

Australian lyrics of the 12 Days of Christmas: https://www.thechristmastreefarm.com.au/australian-12-days-of-christmas-lyrics/

Christmas Day

It’s Christmas Day – time to spend time with family and friends. To be honest, I’m not even sure why you are reading this? Go, get off your phone or computer and enjoy Christmas.

If you're alone this Christmas for any reason, take a moment to pick up a phone and connect with a friend or family member.

If you don't have access to a phone or wi-fi, all Telstra pay phones are free to use over Christmas till New Years Day: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-23/telstra-payphones-made-free-for-christmas/13009548 - This includes Telstra Air wi-fi access points.

Here's some tips from the ABC if you're in isolation or alone on Christmas Day: https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/tips-for-spending-christmas-alone/100004504

Lifeline provides a 24/7 helpline for crisis support and suicide prevention on 13 11 14.

https://affordablesa.com.au/programs/health-care/lifeline

From all of us at Affordable SA, we wish you a safe and very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for 2021

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Only a Week till Christmas

Where does the time go? Only 7 Days until Christmas!

Time to pick-up last-minute gifts and prepare for celebrations with family and friends. There’s presents to wrap, food to make and lots and lots of little jobs that can make it a very busy time.

Christmas Finances

The tricky thing about the festive season is that life doesn’t stop. Your real estate agent will still direct debit your rental payment, your electricity company will still want your quarterly bill paid and your telco company will still demand your BPay payment on a set day of the month.

With the added expense of Christmas, the end of the year can put a lot of pressure on people’s financial situation and unfortunately here on the Affordable SA helpline we tend to see the aftermath at the start of the new year.

Being part of the billion-dollar Christmas debt hangover is no way to start the New Year. If you are struggling with your expenses call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 to speak to a Financial Counsellor.

You can also find a range of programs that can help here:

https://affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances

Food for Christmas

Have you got enough food for you and your family this Christmas?

There's still time to access food pantries and emergency relief, but be quick as services may be closed, providing limited service or have different hours during the Christmas and New Year period.

A food pantry offers free or low cost food and groceries to the community. Find a local Food Pantry here:

https://affordablesa.com.au/programs/food/food-pantry

You can find local, emergency relief here:

https://affordablesa.com.au/programs/food/emergency-relief

You can also call the Affordable SA helpline to be connected to services near you that can help. Call the helpline on 1800 025 539

A Christmas Together

It's also an important time to check in on people you know who may be experiencing loneliness or hardship.

Spare a thought for your elderly neighbour who lives alone, your friend who is experiencing financial hardship, your relative who is going through a separation or your co-worker who is struggling with depression.

If you know someone who finds this time of year especially difficult, consider reaching out to them to show that you are thinking of them.

If you or someone you know finds this time of year especially difficult, services such as Lifeline are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take your call on 13 11 14

https://affordablesa.com.au/programs/health-care/lifeline

Have a Merry Christmas South Australia

From everyone at Affordable SA, we wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2021!

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