Update 25 September
WE HAVE REACHED OUR TARGET!
But there are 8 hours left, and we don't want to stop now! Every extra dollar raised still goes towards our cause and makes a difference to those who are seeking asylum.
Update 7th September
Today we are releasing an interview with an asylum seeker who fled West Africa six years ago. Click the link below to hear his story.
When Ahmed* was a teenager, he fled Ethiopia with his father, in search of safety, freedom and protection. Tragically, a few years after arriving in Melbourne, Ahmed’s father took his own life. Ahmed was alone, vulnerable and unsupported. While his claim for refuge was being processed, Ahmed’s right to work and study were taken away from him, and he could no longer afford rent or accommodation, finding himself homeless, and sleeping in a friend's car for months.
Update Tragically, this true story is one of countless cases for Asylum Seekers who arrive in Melbourne. The process of determination is long, and many people seeking asylum have to wait years for their claims to be processed. During this time, they often have no work rights, no access to government support, childcare or medicare. Their mental and physical health deteriorates, and many end up homeless.
Lentara UnitingCare’s Asylum Seeker Program provides a range of services to people who are seeking asylum- from counselling and advocacy to excursions and social events. We receive no government funding, and rely entirely on the kindness of members of the community. One of our most critical services is providing rent-free accommodation to some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable asylum seekers.
Ahmed came to Lentara’s Asylum Seeker Program, and we were able to offer him a room in a shared male property where he could safely stay while his application for a protection visa was being processed. In addition to accommodation, Lentara also provided him with the costs of household utilities, access to a food bank, and a small basic living allowance of $145 a month.
Unfortunately- housing people is not cheap. Many of our houses are donated, and require significant repairs, maintenance and installations. There is the cost of furniture and appliances, as well as bills and utilities. Asylum seekers in our program also have access to material aid in the form of food packages, Myki transport allowances, and a small allowance to live off.
We are currently housing 56 asylum seekers, but there are many more anxiously waiting, right now. That’s men, women, children and families. Even though our housing program is the biggest one of its kind in Victoria, we have to turn away hundreds of people each year- people who have nowhere else to go.
With your help, we are aiming to raise $20,000- Every dollar counts. The money will go towards buying furniture and utilities, repairs and maintenance, rent and bills and food and other supplies.
Lentara UnitingCare has Deductible Gift Recipient Status (Item One) with the Australian Tax Office, so your donation will be tax deductible if you do not choose a reward or perk.
As rewards, we have some original pieces of art painted by asylum seekers in our programs. Two of the pieces we are offering are displayed below, and there are more to come!
Please also consider sharing this campaign with friends and family- A few clicks from you can mean one less person will be sleeping on Melbourne’s streets.
Within a few weeks of having a safe roof to sleep under, Ahmed started playing soccer for a local team. After a few months, he had planted a vegetable garden for him and his housemates, and was volunteering at a bike shed and a local café. His case worker noted that his disposition had changed- he was happy, and told her that he was hopeful for his future once again.
To stay updated with the campaign and see its progression, make sure you follow our facebook page here
*name concealed to protect identity