Mental health and housing

General Access Program

We work hard to make sure that all refugees and people seeking asylum who arrive at our door, access the services and support they need. We do this through our General Access Program (GAP), and for a range of issues, including homelessness, family violence and social isolation.

Last year, our team comprising two staff and 50 volunteers provided advice and information to 1750 people who presented for the first time at our Footscray centre. We supported an additional 1200 people seeking asylum who were members of the ASRC to help them access services within the centre, as well as from sector partners and the broader community.

Research

Casework

Seeking asylum and refugee status in Australia can be extremely uncertain, complex and stressful. Many of our members face this while also facing many other issues, such as severe destitution, food insecurity, a range of mental health issues and homelessness.

Our casework program helps them navigate through this, supporting them to survive and endure the refugee determination process. Three staff and 50 volunteer caseworkers provide individual, ongoing support to members, comprising 450 people last year. This number has now increased to almost 600. The team works to help people access services within the ASRC, as well as from sector partners and the broader community.

Woman looking at photos of her family

Continuing Care

Our team of three staff provides intensive trauma-informed support to high-risk clients including 70 people seeking asylum last year. This program focuses on alleviating clients’ distress by providing consistent one-on-one critical support, focusing on addressing their complex needs and reducing barriers to their mental and physical wellbeing.

housing support

Rental support

The ASRC operates an internal referral-only program that provides rental support to existing members who are facing homelessness, and whom have exhausted all other options. Support is limited and cannot be referred by external organisations. However we work with other organisations and the community to help people access safe, affordable housing within their communities

Last year, the program provided 25,062 nights of shelter to 147 of our members. Of these people, 80% had no income or the right to work and 14% were experiencing mental or physical hardship that severely reduced their opportunities to be independent.