Asylum seekers living in the community are at serious risk of disadvantage, isolation and marginalisation, argues this report, which outlines the emergency relief services and other related support to asylum seekers provided by UnitingCare agencies.
Recent research conducted by UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania Unit (UCVT) identified asylum seekers living in the community as a major community group at serious risk of disadvantage, isolation and marginalisation.
The report provides in particular a summary of the emergency relief services and other related support to asylum seekers provided by UnitingCare agencies.
Current demand for UnitingCare services has increased considerably and far outstrips the capacity by the UCVT agencies to provide adequate support.The report also finds that participating UnitingCare agencies are under-resourced to provide ER and other services to a level that sufficiently addresses the complex spectrum of needs.
Another finding is that many agencies are keen to be able to offer programs and services they see as critical to the target group but due to lack of funding they are unable to provide them.
The report therefore makes the following key recommendations:
- Provide adequate funding for ER and material aid;
- Provide adequate funding for meaningful engagement programs;
- Provide additional funding for specialist staff;
- Address communication, language and cultural barriers;
- Provide opportunities for education, training and volunteering;
- Grant all asylum seekers in the community the right to work and assist agencies to help with job search;
- Build and strengthen local networks to effectively respond to emerging needs;
- More support to find and maintain adequate and affordable housing.